Gregory XVIII / “Fr.” Tran Van Khoat fraud exposed! 

Gregory XVIII / “Fr.” Tran Van Khoat fraud exposed! 

All Souls Day

The following link is posted on a site that has promoted (Peter) Tran Van Khoat as Gregory XVIII, Giuseppe (Cardinal) Siri’s “successor,” for the past two decades: ( It reveals that Khoat is married (his wife’s name is Nguyen Thi Giang Huong) and has been an international businessman for all these years. Another site lists Khoat as the father of at least two sons ( (This link is provided only for reader reference; the website creators falsely teach Pope St. Pius X was the last true pope.)

This, of course, is no surprise. Since 1989, I have warned Catholics away from Khoat. Why? His 1967 ordination was never confirmed by Traditionalists and could not be confirmed. He is not listed in the Catholic Directories for 1967 or 1968. He arrived in the U.S. with no proof of his ordination, at least none that has ever been seen or could ever be verified. The NO hierarchy may not have been able to easily confirm his credentials because of the war years (1960s, 1970s). They later declared him excommunicated for functioning without their jurisdiction, initially as a Pius X Society “priest,” but were they sure he was ever qualified to possess it? Only they can answer that question.

A 1975 article in a Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas newspaper quotes the head of a “Catholic Conference of Chaffee” as reporting that Khoat had been “relieved of his duties in Saigon and was no longer a representative of any (emph. mine) religious group.” So did NO church officials sanction him or government officials? The South Viet Nam government was not interfering with the functioning of the NO church at that time; this occurred only after 1975, (see Was Khoat dismissed by NO officials because he was married? Was he possibly involved in other non-Catholic religious activities as well?  The visuals on this Vietnamese language site might offer readers some clues: ( And one reader conducting additional research alleges that Khoat may actually be a Viet Nam Buddhist who belongs to the Tran Dynasty! This seems further supported by information below.

I received correspondence regarding this situation with Khoat and his fatherhood/ business dealings several years ago. Because revealing it would have involved crossing Today’s Catholic World editor David Hobson, and because I had been advised by others to wait until a more opportune time to address it, I did not post it to my website. In 2008, Hobson threatened to sue me for comments posted about Khoat. I did correct a typo he objected to, but that was not enough. He eventually attacked my website, which cost me a good chunk of change to rebuild. I had no desire to tangle with him again and every reason to believe he would respond just as hatefully as he did the first time if I tried to forward the information. I have kept all those emails if anyone is interested in corroborating this.

Catholic theologians teach no one is obliged to correct someone if there is good reason to believe they will not listen. Neither Hobson nor his followers have ever given the slightest indication they are open to any criticism of Khoat or the Siri fantasy. But now Hobson has been forced to admit Khoat has perpetrated a gigantic hoax on those belonging to his papal restoration crowd. And to his credit he has corrected at least some of the record, but only after Khoat self-published his Catholic Manifesto book. He has yet to take down his many pages supporting Khoat and the Siri “papacy.”

The whole tragedy could have been avoided if the laws and teachings of the Church had been followed in the first place. A doubtful cleric is no cleric at all. It is the unanimous opinion of theologians, the theological manuals state, that a doubtful opinion regarding the validity of the Sacraments is not sufficient to justify their reception. And being unanimous, such an opinion must be followed, according to the teaching of Pope Pius IX. We have grave doubt that Khoat received valid ordination — if he received orders at all, it was from an NO bishop who possessed no jurisdiction to ordain him in the first place. Ecumenical councils and the continual magisterium have consistently nullified all the acts of antipopes and their illegitimate hierarchies. We have only Khoat’s say-so that he was ordained in 1967, in the old rite, and there is nothing to back this up. Do we really trust this man to tell anyone the truth?!

The laws governing papal election and clergy functioning without papal approval are deadly serious matters, but no one takes them seriously. Pope Pius XII made obedience to papal and church law a necessity for Church membership, so those not obeying these laws and openly flaunting them cannot be considered Catholic. But who listens to the popes? Who follows their teachings and instructions? Certainly not Traditionalists who would rather receive “Catholic” truths from men Christ considers hirelings and false shepherds. It is total disregard for and outright hatred of both papal laws and Canon Law that has led all these people down this road; that and the refusal to perform due diligence in vetting the “clergy” to whom they entrust the most precious gift of all — their eternal salvation.

The following background on Khoat could have been discovered by those who truly value their faith, and the people so zealously promoting these fraudulent characters. Why did they failed to uncover it? That is a question that demands answers.

A little history

President Ngo dinh Diem (a Catholic) was the leader of (South) Vietnam during the 1950s and up to his assassination in 1963. He had several brothers, two of whom were Ngo dinh Nhu and Ngo dinh Thuc, the Traditionalist bishop. In his capacity as bishop, Ngo dinh Thuc helped his brother rule South Vietnam; his assigned area was Cochin, China. He was very ambitious and his brother actively campaigned to have him appointed cardinal.

Cochin China was a hotbed for criminal activity dating back to the 1920s. Chinese criminal organizations infiltrated existing Viet Nam gangs and crime families during this time period and set up camp there. This region was often referred to as the birthplace of the “Vietnamese Mafia.” A young street thug named Bai Vien headed the criminal activities of what was known as the Binh Xuyen in Cochin during this time period. After spending many years in prison, Bay Vien escaped and went back to his old haunts and habits. His organization later evolved into a secret society. In August 1945 the Viet Minh’s chief of Cochin China, Tran Van Giau, formed an alliance with Bay Vien and others against the French.

Competing for power with Bai Vien were two sects, one of which was “the monotheistic, syncretic religion officially established in the city of Tây Ninh in southern Vietnam in 1926 known as Cao Dai, or Caodaism.” The official name of the religion means “The Third Great Universal Religious Amnesty… Caodaism teaches that, throughout human history, God the Father has revealed his truth many times through the mouths of many prophets, but these messages were always either ignored or forgotten due to humanity’s susceptibility to secular desires. Adherents believe that the age has now come when God speaks to humanity directly” ( The sect has its own “pope” and “hierarchy. (Compare this definition to Khoat’s description of his new book, “A unique book that prepares us for the “true new time” on Earth…Khoat’s next book “will be about ‘God Our Heavenly Father’s “True New Time” on Earth …called the Catholic Revolution” (; also So was Khoat claiming all this time to be a Caodaist pope or a Catholic Pope?! Was he a Caodaist, a Buddhist or both? At this point, only Khoat himself knows, and he isn’t telling.)

Ngo dinh Nhu, brother of Ngo dinh Diem and Ngo dinh Thuc, was married to a Buddhist woman who converted to Catholicism. Madame Nhu’s maiden name was Tran van. Her father, Tran van Chuong was the Vietnamese ambassador to Washington, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil, and his wife was a Vietnam representative to the UN. The historian Hilaire du Berrier (Background to Betrayal, p. 46) wrote that Diem established his political base on his brothers and immediate family, and then, “Beyond them would come the in-laws, and their in-laws, spreading downward through ever widening rings of cousins…Wherever one looked there were only Ngo dinhs and Tran vans…” Du Berrier describes the Ngo dinhs and Tran Vans as Viet Nam royalty. Khoat claims to have met Ngo dinh Thuc only once after coming to the U.S., but we suspect  there is far more of a connection there than Khoat was willing to reveal.

The Viet Nam war began in earnest during the Johnson administration, ending in 1975. It was at this time that Khoat emigrated to the U.S., according to court documents later filed in 1996 ( We believe Tran van Khoat may be related to Madame Nhu, which is how he obtained citizenship so quickly, long before the “boat people” he came with were able to do so. In 1977 Khoat bought a Baptist church he used for services to minister to the Vietnamese — Vietnamese Resurrection Church dedicated by Marcel Lefebvre. Eventually these Vietnamese left him to open their own church within the Novus Ordo diocese there. In the mid-1980s, Khoat sold the Baptist church to the Buddhists. Where the money came from originally to purchase this church and where it went when it was sold is not clear.

As the court document shows, Khoat represented a number of fishermen from a village in Viet Nam. He said they were distant relatives and acquaintances but one article states none of them even knew him until he began organizing the immigrants in Ft. Chafee, Arkansas in 1975 (see quotes from article above). While he contended with Novus Ordo authorities for years over running Resurrection Church under their auspices, he eventually joined forces with Lefebvre who then dedicated the church. The Novus Ordo declared he had been automatically excommunicated for this action and for not deeding the church over to the diocese, as the court documents demonstrate. If they knew anything about his Saigon separation, they do not indicate it. But transparency on this subject would have gone a long way to clarify the situation and protect others from being duped by Khoat.

A Tran Van Khoat also is connected with a company called Keystone Development Management SA in Switzerland, which could be connected to the Keystone Development Co. in the U.S. Two separate articles in the Stroudburg, Pennsylvania Pocono Record, written in 2001 detail what homeowners describe as the unethical mortgage maneuvers used by this company to acquire real estate and what they suffered as a result of these practices. (Google Unreal Deals: inflated prices spur mortgage mess). In 2010, the Keystone Development Management SA was deleted from the commercial register in Geneva, Switzerland. The firm went bankrupt in June 2005 shortly after a Swiss financial publication reports that Keystone went into “liquidation,” as reported here: ( Tran Van Khoat is listed as the contact for liquidation along with a Quang Thach Ngo. In the autobiography for his newly released book, Catholic Manifesto, Khoat mentions his business activities (, identifying Switzerland as one of his bases of operation.

“Fr.” Khoat and Siri

Later Khoat accepted money sent to Gary Giuffre by Hutton Gibson to visit Siri in Italy,  then eventually declared himself to be Siri’s successor. All this was based only on Khoat’s accounts of his trip to Italy. No documentation from Siri was ever presented confirming the fact he was pope, that he discussed his “papacy” with Khoat, that he was a “prisoner,” that Khoat’s “orders” were regularized as he claims on Hobson’s site, etc. Several Traditionalist writers, including Hutton Gibson, eventually abandoned the Siri theory as promoted by Gary Giuffre, who miserably failed to prove his case for Siri as pope. And the funding of that project began in earnest in 1991, following David Bawden’s “election”!  They eventually abandoned their efforts because the facts could not and did not prove the case. In his January 2006 newsletter, The War Is Now, Gibson concludes: “Gary was an extremely selective investigator who thought to cover the fact that he covered facts.” Nuff said.

My personal experience with Khoat occurred in March of 1989 when, at the invitation of David Bawden, I attended a religious retreat Khoat hosted in Port Arthur, Texas Bawden had been in contact with Khoat since October of 1988, when he traveled to Texas to speak to him about Khoat’s meeting with Siri that May. He later went to Port Arthur to study under Khoat in February of 1989. When I first entered Khoat’s rectory, I was shocked to find a large picture of Karol Wojtyla hung over the entrance to his office. When I asked Bawden about it, the excuse was given that he used it to lure people in, then would explain the Traditionalist stance. But I wasn’t convinced. The slide presentation I attended given by Giuffre to promote the Siri “papacy” was not convincing either. Something was off, and I would later find out why my radar was sending urgent signals.

During the retreat, Khoat made several outrageous statements, suggestive of what Bawden had already revealed in a letter: his intention to establish a Catholic Secret Society based on the Essenes, an idea favored by Traditionalists Dennis D’Amico (aka Ely Jason) and Spark* editor Christopher Shannon. He was very interested in the Essenes, as were those who were connected with Britons Catholic Library. Towards the end of the retreat, he denied that the documents of the ordinary magisterium could contain infallible statements and limited the incidence of infallibility to rare occasions. He also endorsed the material/formal heresy, as did the Thucites. On hearing these heresies, I stood up during the retreat session, told him he was teaching heresy, left the retreat and returned home a few days later, in time for Easter. (There were several witnesses to this among those also attending the retreat.) Bawden remained in Port Arthur for an indefinite period of time after my departure. He did not leave Texas for Kansas until April 19. From April 5-April 8, 1989, Bawden does not make it clear exactly where he was.

In 2007 or 2008, Bawden posted on his website that Khoat officiated at a Buddhist wedding on April 8 but does not say whether this ceremony was held or how he knew about the ceremony. (I left Bawden in March 2007.) Bawden states on his site that Khoat’s family had recently converted from Buddhism and notes that under Canon Law, by marrying the Buddhist couple, Khoat was more or less guilty of communicatio in sacris. Bawden also lists some of Khoat’s questionable business dealings. In March of 2008, David Hobson posted documents on his website that prove Bawden had completely accepted the Siri “fact,” as Hobson called it and had even approached a “Siri bishop” for ordination while in Texas with Khoat. This is documented with Bawden’s own letters at I have signed letters from Bawden which show I never realized he accepted the Siri theory and did not approve of his studies with Khoat. This even before I journeyed to Texas for the retreat.

In attempting to counter Bawden’s claims regarding Khoat’s business practices, Hobson wrote on his site: “Fr. Khoat did no wrong here. I have gone through hundreds of documents concerning his life and business dealings — what is the point, here?” Well the point is that where there is smoke a fire often exists, and a meticulous investigation needs to be conducted. I am sure Mr. Hobson is beginning to understand this, now that he has been badly burned and his followers blinded by the dense smoke this fire created for so many years. But if he isn’t aware of all the background information above, he cannot possibly come completely clean with his readers. And he still has yet to admit that those who divested themselves of Giuffre, for failing to prove Siri was really the pope elected following John 23, were right all along. He also claims that the “sacraments” Khoat administered to the papal restoration group were valid until only recently, when he “suddenly” became a heretic. But there was nothing sudden about Khoat’s change of heart; no one can be certain he was ever a priest in the first place.

As documented in The Phantom Church in Rome and elsewhere, Siri was not a Catholic cardinal going into the conclave to begin with. He proved this beyond a reasonable doubt by remaining a prominent member of the Novus Ordo hierarchy, excommunicating himself by accepting John 23 as a true pope and participating in succeeding conclaves. What “prisoner pope” elects a new “pope”? Following such theories down the proverbial rabbit hole and trying to make sense of anything only leads to a condition approaching total insanity. We decided a long time ago we were not going there. Who needs drama and make-believe when we have1,958 years of Catholic teaching to guide us!






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False popes running amok

+Pope Victor I+

As the world situation continues to further deteriorate on a daily basis, Catholics can expect to see a corresponding increase in false christs and false prophets. A reader informed us not long ago that a man calling himself Jacobus I is claiming to be pope, apparently by divine appointment, and has posted several videos on the Internet. In watching these verbose videos and reading this man’s “encyclicals,” it soon becomes clear he is of the same cloth as Michael I and Gregory XVII and XVIII and has no intention whatsoever to be transparent regarding his qualifications, his ordination/consecration (he offers “mass” according to the John 23rd missal on one video in strangely garish vestments) or his actual election. He asserts that the quality and elevated tone of the information he provides should be enough to convince people of his superior, God-given intellect and therefore no one should question him.

Jacobus, who refers to himself as heading the catacomb church but does not reveal his legal, given name (for safety reasons, he says) is quick to declare anyone who automatically rejects his claim as excommunicated. He rants against Traditionalists and the Society of St. Pius X, apostate Rome and the evils of Communism and Socialism. Much of what he says may be timely and informative, was it not coming from the mouth of yet another false pope. But Catholics need only consult the encyclicals of Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XI on Communism and Socialism (although every Catholic should know these systems were long ago condemned). And there are numerous site articles exposing Traditionalists and the Novus Ordo. To better understand why Jacobus has no claim to the papal see, please read the article posted at Note: the Gregory XVIII information in this article may be disregarded, as the fraudulent Tran Van Khoat, (aka Gregory XVIII), a married-with-children real estate developer with dubious international ties, was exposed for what he truly was a few years ago. That article may be viewed at Nothing more should need to be said here about the dangers of these crafty imposters!

What is curious about this latest papal pretender is the timing of his appearance. It has already been mentioned here that Novus Ordo and Traditionalists alike have been making loud noises that Francis is a heretic and no pope. We will not go into the ramifications of this here, since numerous site articles and the book The Phantom Church in Romealready treat of this. But basically, Francis could not be a validly elected Pope and public heretic at the same time. He would either need to be a public heretic pre-election, hence invalidly elected, or commit heresy only in his private capacity for him to be considered as possibly validly elected. The promise of infallibility precludes a validly elected Pope from ever becoming a public heretic, (although the Vatican Council did concede that a pope could err in his private capacity). For the gates of hell shall never prevail against Peter’s faith. A man appearing to be pope might commit such heresy, but this would only indicate that he never became pope in the first place.

There seems to be a great need at present for people to grasp at anything with an appearance of what they think is legitimacy, a dangerous tendency. They forget that legitimacy can be determined only by the Church — papal and conciliar decrees, also Canon Law. These are our teachers, not some phony baloney wearing a white dress and skullcap posting YouTube videos. As Rev. As the saying goes, been there, done that and suffered the consequences. A pope may be elected only by cardinals or in their absence the bishops, i.e., the hierarchy. He could not be elected by the laity in the absence of bishops and priests. Pius XII  specifically states this, and automatically nullifies and voids anything that happens contrary to his law (see — click on blue VASannot link). This law is binding on every Catholic for belief under pain of excommunication for denying the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, and this cannot be stressed enough. It is listed in the Acta Apostolica Sedis as an authoritative document, something Pius XII tells us is a clear indication of its binding power.

Moreover, the valid election of a pope must be accepted as a dogmatic fact, and this being the case, no one could accept a doubtfully elected man as pope. With the Church in disarray as it is at present, no certainty can be obtained regarding such an election, and as St. Robert Bellarmine teaches, a doubtful pope is no pope. While those in the past may have had an excuse for mistakenly accepting such men owing to a lack of information and understanding on the subject, that is no longer the case today with the availability of so many works explaining the reason why we have no true pope today, particularly Cum ex Apostolatus Officio and Vacantis apostolicae sedis. Nor should anyone any longer be confused about the infallibility of these two documents, once passed off as no longer binding by those wishing to operate independently as Traditional clergy or be elevated to the “papacy.” Christ, should He come to visit the earth (not for a second time, but by way of chastisement), will resolve the problem of the papacy; He who is its author is the only one able to restore it today. And if that requires a miracle, so be it.

Francis follies

Another recent development exciting the neo-Traditionalists was Francis’s crackdown on the Latin mass centers and his reining in of those offering this mass, which Benedict 16 permitted during his pontificate. This seems strangely to be on a timeline with the appearance of this new papal claimant. To be clear, however, all Francis forbade was the celebration of the mass referred to as the Tridentine Latin Mass, making it appear it had its beginnings at Trent in the 1500s! John 23rd was never Pope; therefore, any changes he made to the 1400-year-old Canon of the Mass — the very one and ONLY one that Pope St. Pius V teaches may be celebrated in perpetuity — are null and void. There is no guarantee of perpetual permission to celebrate the 1962 missal, whether it is recited in Latin or in English. Pope St. Pius V, who reaffirmed Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio could never have intended to approve the celebration of any other rite but the Roman Latin rite as it then existed; nor could it hardly be said he would have sanctioned anything done by a man doubtfully elected. This information has been around for decades but has never made a dent in the John 23 missal crowd.

This absolute refusal to accept the fact that the majority of Cardinals voting in the 1958 election of John 23rd were no longer cardinals and hence had no ability to elect even the local mayor (see The Phantom Church in Rome) is inexcusable. According to Paul IV’s bull, retained in the code in Canon 188 no. 4, they automatically resigned their offices by espousing liberalism and other heresies long before the 1958 election. This was confirmed by their participation in Vatican 2. Failing to examine the valid issues treated by Pope Paul IV in his bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio and other proofs discovered regarding this election (and no Siri was not qualified to be elected either and could never be proven to have been elected) is a sin against the Holy Ghost. This sin is classified as rejecting the known truth and such sins are especially heinous. Although able to be forgiven if confessed, theologians opine that this sin often is not recognized or confessed, owing to the obstinacy of those who are guilty of committing it. Roncalli had, as a matter of public record, already been tagged as a suspected Modernist on two different occasions, and one suspect of heresy could not be validly elected. Even had he not been so identified, his knowledge of and open cooperation with an open campaign for his election, secretly carried out before Pius XII’s death, would alone disqualify him according to Pope Pius XII’s infallible election law, Vacantis apostolicae sedis.

Those refusing to address Roncalli’s invalid election today are to the Church Militant what the current leftwing media is to conservative Americans. The campaign to block any real discussion of the matter has existed for decades, since the 1970s leaders of Traditional groups and Traditionalist themselves have ruthlessly censored, silenced and continuously ridiculed those broaching the subject, just as the mainstream media has done with conservatives. In fact, many even refer to this blog and a few others as representing the lunatic fringe. Pope St. Pius X describes this Modernist tactic as follows in his Pascendi Dominici Gregis:

“There is little reason to wonder that the Modernists vent all their bitterness and hatred on Catholics who zealously fight the battles of the Church. There is no species of insult which they do not heap upon them, but their usual course is to charge them with ignorance or obstinacy. When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that renders them redoubtable, they seek to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack. This policy towards Catholics is the more invidious in that they belaud with admiration which knows no bounds the writers who range themselves on their side, hailing their works, exuding novelty in every page, with a chorus of applause.”

Sound familiar? It should. These same tactics have been used against Catholics for decades and can now be seen on the nightly news as tools of Cancel Culture. But transparency in truly Catholic journalism and scholastic investigation is even more important by far than transparency in political matters because all must be based on the truth: Christ Himself and the Church He founded. Those now lamenting Francis’ phony crackdown may well be eventually propelled into the arms of the waiting pretender popes and other groups after fleeing Francis. All was set up long ago, as Mary Lejeune noted below in her May-June 1977 newsletter Sword of Truth:

“Awhile back, I received a booklet from a reader.  It is entitled, Brotherhood of the Illuminati and it is written by the Freemasons themselves. It is published in London, England and within the pages we read all about the so-called “Pre-Nicene Church” (Arianism) which these Freemasons set up in October, 1953 while we Catholics were praying and acting like Catholics, unaware of the fact that a Masonic revolution was about to come down upon our unsuspecting heads. Let me quote, please: “This Church was formed in October 1953, with the objects of carrying on the true Catholic Tradition and the original ‘Mysteries of Jesus’ and the Gnosis of the Soul. Candidates for the Priesthood (which would maintain the traditions) must have completed three years’ probation in the Brotherhood of the Illuminati; they are required to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the Gnostic Church for the first three centuries of the Christian Era.  PRIVATE CHAPELS WILL BE ESTABLISHED AS AND WHEN THE NEED ARISES.” So, these “candidates” will have Arianism in their hearts while they carry on the “true Catholic Tradition.”  No wonder these secret Masons are so well-versed in the use of semantics.”

So how are all of you Ari(y)ans coping out there these days?! What a travesty that even 30 percent of those calling themselves Catholics, a number roughly corresponding to conservatives now wary of what is happening today with the media, cannot see through the conspiracy to keep them distracted, psychically coerced, (a term used by Pope Pius XII to describe CCP (Chinese Communist Party) brainwashing in the encyclical Ad apostolorum principis); uninformed and unaware of true Catholic teaching and unable to access the fullness of their Catholic birthright. All this because they refused to credence the teachings of the popes and councils and approved theologians writing prior to Pope Pius XII’s death, choosing instead to embrace Gallican-minded Traditionalist clergy and other leaders who were never approved, never validly ordained or consecrated and not in communion with the Roman Pontiff. It is truly the operation of error to believe lies and if anyone doubts it for a moment, then they have lost their ability to reason and accept reality.

May God help us all!

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8-14: Gregory XVIII: Yet another means of deceiving the elect

8-14: Gregory XVIII: Yet another means of deceiving the elect

© Copyright 2014, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)


It is not surprising that generations raised on fairy tales might believe the Siri pope and his successor theory, but as St. Paul tells us, men put away the things of children when they mature. Obviously not, as the gullible souls willing to swallow the Siri theory demonstrate. There are numerous reasons for casting this foolish fable aside, namely because it is not and could never be Catholic. Having remained a practicing and functioning member for the Vatican 2 church long after the false council; having signed Vatican 2 council documents and celebrated the Novus Ordo Missae, this man, who never even exhibited any real sympathy for Traditionalists, presented as a heretic and schismatic. Under Can. 2200 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law he would at least have been classified as deviating from the faith, a phrase found in Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, on which this law is based. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, he must be treated as a heretic/schismatic, unless and until, at some future date, a true pope decides his case. This would also automatically disqualify any alleged successor issuing from him. One cannot use a probable opinion concerning validity in determining questions involving the means for eternal salvation; this is the teaching of Bl. Pope Innocent XI, (DZ 1151).

Traditionalist “clergy” trade on providing all the means necessary to salvation, yet have failed to emphasize the fact that the first of these is subjection to the Roman Pontiff, Siri promoters are using this necessity to lure followers to their cause. The proof of this teaching is found in the following: “We declare, say, define and proclaim to every human creature that they, by necessity for salvation, are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff,” (Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, DZ 469). To be subject to anyone, one must be certain he has the right to command and compel to obey. St. Robert Bellarmine wrote concerning the bishops: “If a papal election is really doubtful for any reason, the one elected should resign so that a new election may be held. But if he refuses to resign it becomes the duty of the bishops to adjust the matter…” For as Rev. E. S. Berry who provided this quote states, “an authority that may be justly doubted at all times is no authority; it commands neither obedience nor respect.”  The evidence proving the existence of grave doubt and canonical impossibility in this case was long ago presented and recently updated. It can be studied at: /articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/traditionalist-heresies-and-errors/errors-in-matters-of-faith-and-morals/why-guiseppe-siri-was-never-pope/, also at /free-content/reference-links/7-recent-articles/siri-theory-a-good-example-of-anti-scholastic-thinking/

Most of the witnesses in this case are dead and reliable testimony is unavailable, only deepening the doubt in this situation. And yet already the Siri enthusiasts are running to accept yet another antipope in a long line of pretenders to the papal throne. But before they jump recklessly from the frying pan into the fire, perhaps a few words of caution from someone who has “been there” could make them rethink their position.

Necessity of canonical election and doubtful popes

As Rev. Berry states elsewhere in his work quoted above (“The Church of Christ,” 1910), once it appears the apostolic succession has been lost, it can only be regained “by a direct intervention from Christ.” And here Berry, joining others, admits that the Church could come to a pass where only a miracle would save Her. As St. Robert Bellarmine teaches in his De Concilio (ii, 19), “a doubtful pope is no pope” and no one is bound to obey him; he should be forced to resign. I once believed and stated that we should not wait for miracles, but should proceed to a papal election; at that time I thought I had found evidence indicating that the laity could elect a pope. A man we believed was able (barely) to be elected pope was actually elected, but this became a very trying situation when we realized that he was totally incapable of functioning as any kind of head for the Church and was never absolved from heresy pre-election. Later it was discovered that the laity are strictly forbidden to take any part whatsoever in papal elections and are excommunicated for doing so, and all who had participated in that election save one renounced the so-called “pope.”

This Siri successor situation is more dangerous because people have been led to believe, based on almost thin air, that a man who was never proven to have become a canonically elected pope was actually elected. And the intimation here is that he is the only one who could be considered a true pope because he descends from Pope Pius XII lineally. But NO PAPAL ELECTION is valid unless it is canonical and this is to be held as dogma, Rev. J. C. Fenton says in his “The Concept of Sacred Theology.” That is, unless it conforms to all those norms laid down for validity by Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolica Sedis and canon law itself, it cannot be counted as a true election. Canon 147 clearly states that those electing or appointing anyone to office must truly be considered competent to do so, and this includes the cardinals who are to designate the man destined to receive Divine jurisdiction from Christ Himself. Do the feckless Traditionalists who hold that Siri was actually elected, based on no proof whatsoever, really believe that those cardinals who elected Siri were competent when they went on to recognize the Novus Ordo antipopes, participate in Vatican 2 and celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae? Do they not understand that Pope Paul IV’s Cum ex Apostolatus Officio condemns them as heretics prior to such an election, nullifying and voiding all their actions, if it later becomes apparent that they have held such heresies? No of course not; for having never been obedient to canon law to begin with, and Pope Pius XII tells us in his infallible encyclical Mystici Corporis that anyone claiming the name Catholic MUST obey such laws, they see no need to be obedient now.

Use of coercive tactics to retain supporters

Siri theorists, incapable of conducting their own research, have even been so bold as to selectively use the research developed on this site for decades to support their evil claims. They have been doing this since 1989, when they first realized they could not claim Siri was elected in 1963 after this author proved (in a series of articles and later a self-published book) that John 23 was a heretic, so was never validly elected; nor could the cardinals proceed to elect another “pope.”  But they are not presenting the whole story for those they are so cunningly attempting to mislead, because they are not following Canon Law as members of Christ’s Church are infallibly bound to do. Nor have they followed the scholastic method of St. Thomas Aquinas to present their proofs as the Church commands and therefore cannot be considered as ever presenting such proofs. Just as we were led to believe by the later pope-elect when promoting the election, the Siri successor promoters dangle as a carrot on a stick the promise to absolve from censures and provide jurisdiction, when this is a canonical impossibility. This is a cult tactic known as coercive persuasion, or as Pope Pius XII defines it in Ad Apostolorum Principis, “psychic persuasion,” as developed by the Chinese communists. It is a shameful attempt to gather moral and financial support for a mere theory presented as an accepted truth, according to popular opinion based on out and out fabrications.

This neglect of approved sources and true scholarship that contradicts the reasoning which leads to such fabrications was soundly condemned by Pope Pius XII in his infallible encyclical, “Humani Generis:”

“17. Hence to neglect, or to reject, or to devalue so many and such great resources which have been conceived, expressed and perfected so often by the age-old work of men endowed with no common talent and holiness, working under the vigilant supervision of the holy magisterium and with the light and leadership of the Holy Ghost in order to state the truths of the faith ever more accurately, to do this so that these things may be replaced by conjectural notions and by some formless and unstable tenets of a new philosophy, tenets which, like the flowers of the field, are in existence today and die tomorrow; this is supreme imprudence and something that would make dogma itself a reed shaken by the wind. The contempt for terms and notions habitually used by scholastic theologians leads of itself to the weakening of what they call speculative theology, a discipline which these men consider devoid of true certitude because it is based on theological reasoning.”

It is sheer absurdity to maintain that those who will not even follow the dictates of the continual magisterium throughout the ages and have defied all its principles and teachings to date could possibly determine that they May accept a man as pope while continuing to ignore these same binding principles. What binding papal teachings, also those produced by the theologians mentioned above have these clueless lay leaders promoting this travesty based their reasoning upon? What popes, what councils, what laws have they cited that grounds their belief that such a thing could ever happen outside the teachings of the Church Christ established on earth?!  The new philosophy they teach is that of the pre-eminence of human reason over the teachings of the Church; human determinations and “catholic sense” as opposed to scholastic theology. This has already been discussed in the second of the articles linked to betrayedcatholics website above. It is the undiluted Traditionalism of Augustine Bonnetty condemned by Pope Pius IX as a heresy in his “Qui pluribus,” (DZ 1649-52; the doctrines listed in Denzingers state the true teaching of the Church, as opposed to the false teaching spread by Bonnetty).

First of all it must be noted that no one can coerce Catholics into accepting such a doubtful man as pope by threatening them with the teaching that all must be subject to the Roman Pontiff to be saved, that in order for the Church’s indefectibility to remain intact a true pope must exist and/or that such a pontiff is necessary to remove censures of excommunication. As Rev. Berry teaches per St. Robert Bellarmine’s teaching above: a doubtful pope is no pope. According to the opinions of seven different theologians, fulfilling the requirements of Can. 20 and the moral prerequisites for establishing true probability, “There is no schism involved…if one refuses obedience [to a pope] inasmuch as one suspects the person of the Pope or the validity of his election…” (“The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics,” Rev. Ignatius J, Szal, A.B., J.C.L.). Of course one would need to offer valid reasons for such doubts, reasons provided elsewhere by this author, and they are readily available in this instance. Notice that one need only suspect that the man claiming to be Pope is a heretic or invalidly elected, (Can. 2200, taken from the old law, “Cum ex…”). Only doubt, NOT CERTITUDE that such a man is not pope, is required. In order to act in such a case, i.e., accept such a man as a true pope, moral theologians state, all doubts must be completely resolved, something that is impossible in this particular situation. Conclaves by their very nature are secret, and those participating in this conclave later proved themselves heretics. No reliable testimony could ever issue from such an event. Catholics do not need to worry that by not accepting such “popes,” they will endanger their souls, for the Church cannot and does not teach this, as demonstrated above.

Proofs to this effect can be found under Recent Articles — The Binding Power of the Papacy Voids Traditionalist Acts — and will explain the true nature of indefectibility from Catholic teaching and the absolute necessity of certainly verified canonical election. Please also see the articles refuting attacks on the infallibility of “Cum ex… as well as  “The Truth About Papal Claims.” And for any who are in doubt about the Church’s views considering those who accept an antipope, please read the scathing condemnations of the Council of Florence:

The Council of Florence

The Council of Florence was held in Florence, Italy from 1438-1447. The Council was a continuation of the Council of Ferrara, and that council in turn was a continuation of the Council of Basel, in Switzerland. It was convoked in 1431 by Pope Martin V. Following Martin’s death, his successor Blessed Pope EugeneIV opened it and met open resistance from many of the bishops. Therefore he dissolved the Council, moving to Ferrara, Italy in 1438 because of the schismatic bishops who elected the antipope Felix V. Felix attempted to depose Eugene IV. While it appears he was a layman on election, the Catholic Encyclopedia says only that he was consecrated following his election in 1439. He then was excommunicated by Bd. Eugene IV.  In 1439 the bubonic plague forced the entire Council to move again, this time to Florence where it was closed eight years later in 1447 by Eugene IV. The following text is taken from the ninth session of the Council of Florence which condemned in session the antipope Felix V and demanded he cease and desist from all pretensions to the papacy.

“…Say with the psalmist: I will pursue my enemies and crush them, and I shall not return until I consume them. I shall consume and crush them and they will not rise; they will fall at my feet. For it is wrong that so wicked a deed and so detestable a precedent should be allowed to pass by disguised, lest perhaps unpunished daring and malice find an imitator, but rather let the example of punished transgressions deter others from offending.

[Concerning Amadeus aka Felix V and his bishop friends]: “They adopted an attitude of opposition and, prodigal of their good name and enemies to their own honour, they strove to their utmost with pestilential daring to rend the unity of the holy Roman and universal church and the seamless robe of Christ’, and with serpent-like bites to lacerate the womb of the pious and holy mother herself.

“The leader and prince of these men and the architect of the whole nefarious deed was that first-born son of Satan, the most unfortunate Amadeus, once duke and prince of Savoy. He meditated this scheme for long. Several years ago, as is widely said, he was seduced by the trickery, sooth sayings and phantoms of certain unfortunate men and women of low reputation (commonly called wizards or witches or Waldensians and said to be very numerous in his country), who had forsaken their Saviour to turn backwards to Satan and be deceived by demonic illusions, to have himself raised up to be a monstrous head in God’s church. He adopted the cloak of a hermit, or rather of a most false hypocrite, so that in sheep’s clothing, like a lamb he might assume the ferocity of a wolf. Eventually he joined the people at Basel. By force, fraud, bribery, promises and threats he prevailed on the majority of those at Basel, who were subject to his sway and tyranny, to proclaim him as an idol and Beelzebub, the prince of these new demons, in opposition to your holiness, the true vicar of Christ and the undoubted successor of Peter in God’s church.

Thus that most ill-starred Amadeus, a man of insatiable and unheard of greed, whom avarice (which, according to the Apostle, is the service of idols) has always blinded, was set up as an idol and like a statue of Nebuchadnezzar in God’s church by that most wicked synagogue, those offscourings of forsaken men, that shameful cesspool of all Christianity, from among whom certain heinous men, or rather demons hiding under the form of men, had been deputed as electors or rather as profaners. He himself, agitated by the furies of his own crimes and sinking into the depth of all evils, said after the manner of Lucifer: I will set my throne in the north and I shall be like the most High. He grasped with avid and detestable greed at the above-mentioned election, or rather profanation made of him, which he had earlier sought with intense fever of mind and anguish of heart. He did not shrink from adopting and wearing papal robes, ornaments and insignia, from behaving, holding himself and acting as Roman and supreme pontiff, and from having himself venerated as such by the people. Further, he was not afraid to write and despatch to many parts of the world letters which were sealed with a leaden seal after the manner of the Roman pontiffs. By these letters, in which he calls himself Felix even though he is the most unhappy of mortals, he tries to spread the poisons of his faction among the people of Christ.

“With the approval and help of this sacred ecumenical council, avenge with condign penalties this new frenzy which has become inflamed to your injury and that of the holy Roman church, your spouse, and to the notorious scandal of the whole Christian people. By the authority of almighty God and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul and by your own authority, remove and separate from God’s holy church, by a perpetual anathema, the aforesaid wicked perpetrators of this prodigious crime and their unfortunate heresiarch and veritable antichrist in God’s church together with all their supporters, adherents and followers and especially his execrable electors or rather profaners.

“May he and all the aforesaid be cast out like an antichrist and an invader and a destroyer of the whole of Christianity. Let no appeal in this matter ever be allowed to him or to them. Let them and their posterity and successors be deprived without appeal of every ecclesiastical or secular rank and dignity whatsoever. Let all of them be condemned by a perpetual anathema and excommunication and may they be counted among the wicked who will not rise at the judgment. May they feel the anger of God against them. May they feel the rage of saints Peter and Paul, whose church they dare to throw into confusion, both in this life and in the next. May their dwelling be a desolation, let no one dwell in their tents. May their children be orphans and their wives be widows. May the world fight against them and all the elements be opposed to them, so that they may be cast out, destroyed and eliminated by all and so that, as they grovel in permanent penury, death may deservedly be their refuge and life their punishment. May the merits of all the saints cast them into confusion and display open vengeance on them in their lifetime. May they receive a deserved fate with Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Finally, unless they repent from their hearts, perform deeds worthy of repentance and make worthy satisfaction to your holiness and the universal church for the enormity of their sins, may they be thrust with the wicked into the everlasting darkness, doomed by the just judgment of God to eternal torments…

“Therefore, in order that so enormous and execrable a deed may, with the help of God whose cause is at stake, be destroyed from its very roots, we are applying, in conjunction with this holy council and with the least possible delay, a remedy in accordance with the holy canons…Nevertheless we and this holy synod, imitating the mercy of God who desires not the death of the sinner but rather that he be converted and live, have decided to show all possible mercy and to act, in so far as we can, in such a way that the proposed mildness may recall them to heart and lead them to recoil from the above-mentioned excesses, and so that when at last they return to the bosom of the church like the prodigal son, we may receive them with kindness and embrace them with fatherly love…

“We exhort, beg and beseech the antichrist Amadeus and the aforesaid electors, or rather profaners, and whoever else believes in, adheres to, receives or in any way supports him, straightaway to stop violating the church’s unity for which the Saviour prayed so earnestly to the Father, and to cease from rending and lacerating fraternal charity and peace …We strictly enjoin and order him and them in virtue of holy obedience and under the penalties of anathema, heresy, schism and treason which have been inflicted in any ways against such persons, whether by men or by the law:

“That within fifty days immediately following the publication of this letter, the antichrist Amadeus should cease from acting any more and designating himself as the Roman pontiff and should not, in so far as he can, allow himself to be held and called such by others, and should not dare hereafter in any way to use papal insignia and other things belonging in any way to the Roman pontiff; And that the aforesaid electors, or rather profaners, and adherents, receivers and supporters should no longer, either in person or through others, directly or indirectly or under any pretext, aid, believe in, adhere to or support the said Amadeus in this crime of schism…

“If Amadeus and the said electors, believers, adherents, receivers and supporters shall act otherwise — though may it not be so — and do not effectively fulfill each and all of the aforesaid points within the appointed time, we wish and decree that from then as from now they automatically incur the stated penalties…,” (end of Council quote. All emphasis within quotes in this document is the author’s.)

“Exiled” and hidden popes treated as resigned

While it is true that the Apostolic See at present is not filled, and so such a man would not reign as opposed to a true pope, that man still would perfectly fit the definition of Antichrist found in the Catholic Encyclopedia: a king reigning during an interregnum. He also would fit the description given by Pope Paul IV in “Cum ex…,” a heretic raised to the See who only appears to be pope. The current papal election legislation by Pope Pius XII infallibly teaches: “We command that the Sacred College of Cardinals shall not have the power to make a determination in any way it pleases concerning the rights of the Apostolic See and of the Roman Church, nor attempt in any way to subtract directly or indirectly from the rights of the same on the pretext of a relaxation of attention or by the concealment of actions perpetrated against these same rights even after the death of the Pontiff or in the period of the vacancy.” The rights of the Apostolic See demand a canonical election of a truly worthy candidate. It cannot be proven that Siri’s election was canonical, posed as it was by heretics sanctioned under Cum ex…, who later amply demonstrated the extent of their treachery. Siri could scarcely be considered a worthy candidate, cooperating with the antichurch and acknowledging the usurpers of the Holy See at every turn. Proofs exist concerning this acknowledgement and cooperation, and no proofs exist confirming his orthodoxy.

Let Catholics remember that when headed by a true pope the Church is only visible if it can be identified as such. Even in the early centuries of the Church the faithful always knew who their pope and bishops were and even lived in hiding with them at times. In 1804, Pius VII signed an abdication of the papal throne prior to departing for Paris to crown Napoleon. The abdication was to take effect in the event that he was held captive in France. During World War II, Pius XII is reported to have signed a document stating that should he be abducted by the Nazis, he was to be considered as having resigned as pope. In the past, Pope St. Pontian was exiled and a new papal election held and this also happened to other popes. A secret reign of a pope for over 20 years has no precedent whatsoever in the Church. No better definition of doubt could be found than that of a supposed pope, named and kept in hiding, who cannot be verified as even existing! If God wished us to have a pope at this time, He would miraculously provide us with one. This is the only way Catholics would know with any certainty that he was legitimate. But the real reason is that Siri himself proved to be a heretic/schismatic, so no true successor could ever issue from him. Those observing that sedevacantism is no longer a viable position are right insofar as those believing the See to be vacant cannot in the meantime set up their own church. But neither can people set up a false church by promoting a false pope, either.

Who is Peter Tran Van Khoat

Before receiving any lifting of censures or revalidation of marriages or whatever else may be offered by Gregory XVIII via Peter Tran Van Khoat, those making these requests should ask themselves:

• Who is Fr. Khoat? Where are his priestly credentials? Since he was affiliated with the Novus Ordo, Lefebvre, Giuffre and other Traditionalists, has HE been absolved of his censures and irregularities and how do we know this?

• Where is the proof of his ordination and jurisdiction? Consecration, if applicable? Or if not a bishop, extraordinary faculties to absolve from such censures which are always reserved to the Roman Pontiff, or at the very least a bishop designated by him.

• Khoat claims he was created whatever in 1988  (bishop, cardinal?) and his orders “regularized” by the “pope,” but where is the proof? Was this “pope” Siri, and is Khoat the successor? Siri died in 1989.

• What is required of the faithful before receiving absolution and abjuration? What is an abjuration  and what should precede it — does anyone even know?

As has been pointed out in the article at /free-content/reference-links/7-recent-articles/siri-theory-a-good-example-of-anti-scholastic-thinking/ , the first teaching of the Church Siri supporters deny is the insistence by numerous popes on the exclusive use of the scholastic system for weighing evidence and arriving at truth. It demonstrates the falsehoods manufactured today by those who spin endless scenarios to construct conspiracy theories, which is basically what the Siri theory amounts to. But a theory is not a fact, and Pope Pius XII actually forbids us to indulge in such “conjectural notions” and “unstable tenets” as noted above. No lay leaders primarily using prophecy as proof (which has no guarantee of infallibility or doctrinal weight of any kind); no shadowy middleman whose past is a series of unanswered questions; no unidentified, unnamed and questionably elected pope, whether Siri or his successor, can gainsay true popes or make it appear that those who reek of doubtful origin could ever be considered a true head of the Church.


Slowly but surely, those who consider themselves true Catholics are being absorbed by groups either prepared to accept the “papacy” of Francis, once he “converts,” (another absurdity and insult to the intellect propagated by those who preach the probability of a material/formal papacy); by means of reconciliation with the false church of Rome as has happened with the St. Pius X Society members or by allegiance to a series of false popes existing here and there, (see Still others, we hear, have gone over to the Indult Mass from Traditionalism, thus returning to their vomit. Holy Scripture warns that false christs and wolves in sheep’s clothing will abound to deceive even the elect in the latter days, and they are definitely at work as these words are being written. In his “The Essentials of Formal Logic,” the foundation of scholastic philosophy/theology, Rev. Michael J. Mahony, S. J., provides a list of what is known in philosophy as a fallacy of argument or a sophism — “a falsehood hidden under the appearance of truth.” Let that resonate for a moment, because it is the key to everything that Traditionalists have done for the past five decades. Under the heading of “Fallacies” in Ch. XI of his 1918 work, Mahoney lists the following under the subhead of false induction: “False observation, false interpretation, seeing what we wish to see, not seeing what we do not wish to see.” It isthe lying visions and operation of error spoken of by St. Paul. Beg our Lord for the grace to open your eyes, before you are led by these blind guides into the eternal abyss.

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Gregory XVIII / “Fr.” Tran Van Khoat fraud exposed! 

Why Guiseppe Siri Was Never Pope

Why Guiseppe Siri Was Never Pope

© Copyright 2009, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.)

Certain Traditionalists appear to be mesmerized by intrigue and suspense. For over two decades they have been following the perpetually evolving tale of “Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, pope in bondage and exile.” This fiction unfolds very much like any other soap opera and also like these serial tales, it keeps its followers coming back for more. In fact the very same story was circulated about Paul 6 in the 1970s, serving as a prelude to the “mystical appointment” of the Palmerian pretender pope, Clemente Dominguez-Gomez. (This is something that the younger crowd, still children in those days, may not even know.) Sadly, the Siri fiction trades on the hope of those following this fairy tale that there indeed is a painless and thought-free solution to the crisis in the Church and all they must do is accept it, without looking too closely at the facts. The privileged members of this “hidden” Church, dependent on the news of its actual workings from those “in the know,” must find the truth quite boring by comparison.

For those who do choose to check out the facts in this case, it soon becomes apparent that the “evidence” Siri promoters present as positive proof is fatally flawed. The “Siri facts” they expect inquirers to believe — inquirers referred to as “lunkheads” by one Siri researcher — somehow keep changing. Independent fact-finding easily confirms that Siri promoters did not even know the true identity of the senior conclave official on which their entire premise is based. That premise is: a) that Siri was elected, not Roncalli; b) that “white smoke,” (initially white streaked with grey, which later turned black, indicating that the necessary 2/3rds plus one majority had not been achieved) was sent up as a “sign” that Siri was elected; c) that Siri was prevented from accepting and threatened with death and the death of innocent Catholics if he made his election known and d) that the official who relayed this information to one “Prince Chigi” was none other than a “Msgr. Santoro,” who Siri chroniclers report told Chigi he must get the “white smoke” information to Vatican Radio immediately. Really?

The problem is, Msgr. Santoro was the chief conclave official at the 1939 election of Pope Pius XII; Msgr. Alberto Di Jurio was the senior conclave person officiating at Roncalli’s “election.” This is a matter of historical fact, documented in the Acta Apostolica Sedis and reported in newspapers written at the time of the 1958 election. So how could Santoro be said to have told Chigi any such thing? Chigi himself explained the problem with the smoke, a malfunction accredited to the stove used to send up the signal, at the time of the election. This malfunction was mentioned in later works on Roncalli, but is dismissed by Siri supporters as part of the “conspiracy” to hide the fact that Siri was actually elected. And once the conspiracy card is played, all bets are off and anything goes. Everything contrary to the “facts” of the case as stated, whether these facts are true or not, is dismissed as the work of enemies, and an enemy is anyone who dares to prove they have erred. This is true not only of the Siri bunch but of Conclavists and Traditionalists generally. Much like republicans and democrats, the various Traditionalist groups forever butt heads in true partisan style. Discover an error and it is seldom addressed, far less corrected. And this is true regardless of whether the hole in the boat sinks their arguments or not. They proceed full steam ahead and even step up their pace with every error discovered and every point made by the opposing side. They bank on the fact that they have spun an appealing and even irresistible tale, one that those buying into their nonsense will be loathe to abandon. And amazingly many remain enthralled even in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary, such as what is presented below.

Prince Scortesco and Countess Dr. Elizabeth Gertsner
Dr. Gerstner was a German noblewoman who worked in the Vatican until 1961, founded the Una Voce movement in Europe and authored a newsletter called Kyrie Eleison. The no. 3 newsletter for 1986 ran an article called “Siri Papist?” She wrote it after reading an article in the July/August edition of the French publication, Sous La Banniere, an article written by Louis Herbert Remy. This article was later republished in the U.S. in (Fr.) Dan Jones’ Sangre de Cristo Newsnotes in the later 1980s. In the article, Remy said that Siri was supposedly elected “pope” in 1963 and 1978. Gertsner, in both her article and elsewhere confirms that Paul Scoretesco told her this in 1963. In her article on Siri, Gertsner wrote: “I was assured by Prince Paul Scortesco, our courageous comrade-in-arms in the resistance movement, which was active even then, that Cardinal Siri had been elected pope on 21-6-1963 before Montini was acclaimed…I requested an appointment with Cardinal Siri through the offices of Bishop Ventimiglia…Upon our arrival in Genoa, we called at the Cardinal’s Curia on nine consecutive days, only to receive a veritable dressing down from the Chancellor [of the Curia].” The “extremely irritable” Chancellor, seeing Gertsner and her family were Traditionalists, told them that they were mistaken “if [they] believed Cardinal Siri did not have a positive attitude toward the Council and the reform of the Liturgy…He [said Siri] stood well and truly on the side of the Holy Father and…said he would continue to obstruct any audience…” After finding that the Curia was stocking up on volumes written by Hans Kung, Gertsner left in disgust. 

In this same article, Gertsner relates that it was well known that while conditions in his diocese and seminaries were not as bad as in others, “Cardinal Siri has adopted all the reforms of Vatican II, including the Novus Ordo Missae and the new Sacraments and Rites. He did not raise his voice at the Conferences of Bishops to announce abuses, preferring to hide behind other bishops whom he incited to protest. In all these years he has behaved like someone whose greatest worry was the revelation of material against his person in the hands of his enemies, and not the well-being of the Church and her delivery from the clutches of her enemies.” So Gertsner ruled out Siri as pope, even in 1963, noting that it is obvious that he caved to his enemies, violating the oath he took as cardinal to defend the Church and the papacy. And well she should have, for even at the end of the first session of Vatican 2, Siri told Jesuit Walter Abbot the following: “The Holy Spirit certainly is working in the Council. On a number of occasions I have said to myself: ‘there is the work of the Holy Spirit’The Holy Father himself asked me to compose  [a full account] of the Council,” (Twelve Council Fathers, 1963, Macmillan Co., New York). In all honesty, we know that Siri had to have signed Vatican 2 documents, which contained many heresies. He celebrated the Novus Ordo Missae and recognized the antipopes. He was a heretic and no heretic can ever be elected pope.
Gertsner had actually worked for the Vatican prior to Pope Pius XII’s death, was fluent in several languages and left her position in 1961 before the false Vatican 2 council convened. After the Siri fiasco, Scortesco’s own friends later warned her that he was not trustworthy and was very high-strung, tending to paranoia.

Gertsner was a major force in the early days of Traditionalism in Europe. She later assisted in the election of Linus II as “pope” in England in the mid-1990s (after requesting a copy of the book “Will the Catholic Church Survive the 20th Century?”) so despite her standing as German nobility, her broad education and her Vatican experience she was no better informed on what to do in these unsettled times than the rest of us were. Prior to her death, she told one biographer that she regretted participating in the election. Clearly Gertsner did not believe Siri was ever elected pope. And nothing presented by Siri devotees comes close to satisfying the rules laid down by the Church Herself for presenting evidence strong enough to stand as a dogmatic fact, which is what evidence of a valid papal election constitutes.

Scholastic proofs
Although the philosophical system of St. Thomas Aquinas has been recklessly redefined by those outside the Church, Scholastic theology remains the same today as it was at the close of Pope Pius XII’s reign. It is a system of deductive reasoning from the truths of faith as defined by the continual magisterium and the various discussions of scholastic theologians. Much space has been dedicated on this site to the necessity of proceeding from scholastic principles, so there is no need to belabor this point. Needless to say, those promoting Siri as pope have not proceeded from scholastic principles. Private prophecy, media hype and other secular proofs do not appeal to the authority of the Church teaching throughout the ages, (unless one wishes to include the testimony of heretical NO “authorities” as Catholic). The determination of who is the true Pope lies demonstrably in the realm of dogmatic facts and papal teaching governing papal elections. It therefore clearly lies outside the matter of merely circumstantial evidence, since it must be determined by and be in agreement with dogma. While circumstantial evidence is always an adjunct to such inquiries, it can scarcely be used as the basis to determine the value of doctrinal matters themselves.

St. Thomas clearly taught that theology and philosophy are two separate sciences, “yet…they agree. They are distinct because…philosophy relies on reason alone [while] theology uses the truths derived from revelation, and also because there are some truths, the mysteries of Faith which belong [only] to theology. They must agree because God is the author of all truth, and it is impossible to think that He would teach in the natural order anything that would contradict what He teaches in the supernatural order. The recognition of these principles is the crowning achievement of Scholasticism,” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XIII). The two elements must be joined, then, in order to make sense out of any situation, They must be joined using the reasoning process — logic and common sense — where the actual circumstances of the matter are concerned. But the final determination can only rest on that evidence required and mandated by the Church Herself. If we apply logic to the Siri situation, things simply do not compute. That Siri was Pope for 30 years, and never made this known, all the time publicly appearing as a functioning and faithful member of the Novus Ordo church, is absurd. It is theologically impossible and reason immediately detects this.

When a few true priests yet existed to opine on the Siri matter, they were all in favor of investigating the “possibility” that “recent papal conclaves involved irregularities.” They lambasted all others trying to do responsible research, and threw their weight behind Gary Giuffre and those funding him. One priest even warned against following “gurus” possessing Gnosis-like “secret knowledge,” or those who “take their cues from dubious apparitions and revelations…false mysticism in general.” And yet these are the very things that have emerged from what this priest described as the “responsible and serious scholarly study” of Mr. Giuffre. If priests themselves could not even manage to judge these things from the Church’s own teachings and practices, and themselves erred in a conspicuous way by supporting those who ignore these very teachings, why hasn’t anyone questioned this? The errors in Giuffre’s study make it incumbent on those wishing to sort this out to not only ask questions but to demand answers based solely on Church teaching. After examining what constitutes evidence, discrepancies existing in Giuffre’s arguments and those of others, from the beginning, will be examined.

Evidence and its worth
Giuffre says he possesses declassified U.S. government documents proving conclusively that Siri was elected in 1958. But others have been unable to locate these same documents. It hardly needs saying that the collusion of various British and U.S. government agencies with the NO church and especially with Giovanni Montini (Paul 6) — during and shortly after World War II and up to the present, as demonstrated in various modern historical works — place these declassified documents in serious doubt. While Can. 1814 states that civil documents are to be presumed genuine unless the contrary is proven by evident arguments, it would seem that the basis of such an argument can be found in the proofs of Montini’s covert operations, unknown to Pope Pius XII; also his suspected collusion in poisoning the pope in 1953. It also should be noted that the Freedom of Information Act did not come into existence until after Vatican 2. Therefore it seems highly improbable that the true Church would willingly accept as solid evidence documents proceeding from espionage and intrigue, especially when such documents can easily be the product of falsehood, forgery and elicitation by force or sheer chicanery.

So obviously such documents cannot be used as canonical proof, especially when they are questionable from the outset. Can. 1813 §1 lists as principle ecclesiastical documents those acts of the Supreme Pontiffs, Roman Curia and Ordinaries. The judge in an ecclesiastical court must pronounce in favor of the party whose contention is proved by these first-class public documents, upheld by the court. While reliable public documents may be admitted into evidence as stated in Canon Law, (Can. 1813, no. 2), documents of this nature are admissible only in the proper forum, i.e., in ecclesiastical courts over which the Roman Pontiff ultimately presides. The judge must pronounce in favor of the party whose contention is proved by papal and Curial documents verified by the court. Moreover, as in any civil court, wherever there exists considerable lag time between the crime and the presentation of the evidence and/or testimony of the witnesses, the evidence loses much of its value. Nearly all if not indeed all the principals in Siri’s purported election and the subsequent issue of these civil documents are now deceased and any remaining evidence is merely secondhand or amounts to hearsay. And in reality, only a general or at the very least an imperfect council could decide the true status of a serious claimant to the papacy. Such a claimant would need to be at least a priest who has not compromised the faith, elected by eligible cardinals or remaining faithful bishops. A general appeal to “Catholics,” who are not competent judges in such matters, or to the civil courts will not suffice.

Cases are thrown out of civil courts on a daily basis for lack of sufficient evidence and general councils often have deposed papal claimants as antipopes. Even the aspiring politician and Siri supporter Jim Condit has admitted that the evidence for Siri as Pope would not withstand the scrutiny of a judge and jury. So it scarcely would fare any better in an ecclesiastical court since it is not grounded on ecclesiastical principles. Another problem Siri supporters ignore is the trustworthiness of their sources of information, (Giuffre, the U.S. government, Peter Tran Van Khoat, certain dignitaries in Rome). As a schismatic, the supporter of a Church not in communion with the Roman Pontiff, and someone who has taken funds he did not use for the purpose intended, Giuffre’s testimony would be useless in an ecclesiastical court. Even Hutton Gibson, who funded Giuffre’s book presenting the case for Siri’s election, could not vouch for Giuffre. The July, 2005 issue of Gibson’s “The War is Now” describes an unfinished book (14 years in progress) and clearly registers Gibson’s misgivings about the Siri “papacy” and Giuffre’s recourse to questionable priests, even those ordained in the new rite, at St. Jude’s Shrine. But here even Gibson does not go far enough.

Gibson does not accept the Church’s teaching on jurisdiction, which would forbid even those ordained in the old rite functioning after the death of Pope Pius XII from ministering to the faithful. Peter Tran Van Khoat was one of those priests who once said Mass at St. Jude’s. Heir apparent to the Siri “legacy,” Khoat was ordained in 1967 by a bishop who could not grant him jurisdiction, since anti-pope Paul 6 could not transfer such jurisdiction to the bishops. Therefore Khoat cannot licitly administer the sacraments because he is not a lawful pastor, and Catholics are not allowed to receive the Sacraments from unlawful pastors under penalty of excommunication, (see DZ 967, Council of Trent; also articles on Can. 2261, apostolicity and jurisdiction on this board.) Like all others ordained in that particular time period, his orders may have been vaild. But without the necessary jurisdiction he could not exercise these orders without exposing the faithful to fruitless sacraments and sacrilege.

To summarize this section, do those researching Siri’s “election” really think that the conspiracy they claim prevented him from reigning openly as pope simply blew up overnight? Do they not realize that for years this conspiracy had operated covertly within Rome itself and was poised to seize power the minute Pius XII breathed his last? So how do they think that “declassified documents” would ever be the equivalent of those documents issuing from the Holy Office, (when it really was the Holy Office), since these documents carry the greatest weight?

Which conclave: 1958 or 1963?
The major mix-up mentioned earlier concerning who was truly the senior conclave official at the 1958 election is enough to place the entire Siri affair in question. But even before this grave error was revealed, Siri supporters changed their minds on dates. And before one can even begin to make an analysis of the situation, it would need to be known which conclave allegedly elected Siri, and what circumstances during this conclave point to his supposed election.

1.) The original date for Siri’s election, provided by Giuffre, was the 1963 conclave. Abbe Henri Moreaux of France first suggested the 1963 date in an article published in the April, 1989 edition of Dan Jones’ Sangre de Cristo Newsnotes, Moreaux’s original article having appeared in 1984. In his “Keys of This Blood,” Malachi Martin also gives Siri’s election date as June of 1963. If 1963 is the correct date, Siri already had participated in the election of antipope Roncalli. The cardinals that participated in this election according to Pope Paul IV’s “Cum Apostolatus Officio” could not have validly designated him. The smoke incident places Siri at the 1958 election, or rather is used to claim he was elected in 1958. Ugo Groppi and Julius S. Lombardi provided an alternative explanation for the white smoke that issued in the 1958 conclave without the usual announcement a pope had been elected. These authors state that an individual phoned Osservatore Romano from the “the Loggia delle Dame above the entrance of the bronze portal leading into Vatican City…From this vantage point it would not have been impossible to hear, if the voices were loud enough, something being confidentially discussed behind the windows of the conclave enclosure. The news of Cardinal Ottaviani’s “election” was sent out by the press agencies but then prudently stopped,” (“Above All A Shepherd”). It appears that this episode may have been “borrowed” by Siri proponents and used as the basis for the Siri theory, Siri’s name being substituted for Ottaviani’s. So why was no one investigating the election of Ottaviani? Why Siri? All this proves is that election irregularities probably existed in 1958 and that whatever the nature of these irregularities were, they did not point to Siri.

The 1963 date, however, magically changed to 1958 after “Will the Catholic Church Survive…?”, published in March, 1990, proved that John 23 was a heretic in and it became apparent to Siri supporters that those promoting a “papal election” would see it through. It is not inappropriate to comment here that several Traditionalists at that time themselves suggested that the sudden push to prove Siri was pope, despite his demise in May of 1989, was adversely impacted by the approaching “election.” Not that it was not proper and necessary for Traditionalists to oppose this false election, for it certainly was. But in dismissing it out of hand, they jumped from the frying pan into the fire. The resultant haste that subsequently fueled the gathering of the documentation necessary to prove Siri was a possible pope-elect may account for many mistakes that were made in its collection, including the amusingly melodramatic ad in the Houston paper summoning Siri’s “cardinals and Cardinal Camerlengo.”

If “Cum ex…” had been used as a standard for determining Siri’s orthodoxy (and it was readily available); if all the same criteria used to declare the V2 usurpers as antipopes had been used to determine Siri’s status and eligibility, even after his alleged 1958 “election,” wouldn’t this alone have disqualified him? Of course it would have; for both the 1958 election (after the fact) and the1963 election. And now we have discovered a second reason why the Siri crowd, after running a series of articles in Sangre de Cristo Newsnotes for over a year claiming Siri was elected in 1963, suddenly did an about face and changed that date to 1958. It then was necessary for them to backtrack and re-confabulate. For with the 1958 date, there was no question of Siri’s acceptance of John XXIII as a valid pontiff, no signing of documents at the first session of the false V2 council to deal with; Siri’s “line” could be said to continue untainted directly from Pope Pius XII. Siri supporters even admit Roncalli was a false pope, as they would need to do once the date was changed, to prove their man “pope.” No, there was something else at work here, something not yet understood. That something was the fact that after the books was published, Siri supporters admitted the cardinals who “elected” Ronacalli could not posit another valid election; but, they reason, if they had elected Siri, that election could have been valid.

2) There can be no doubt that Siri participated in the election of the proven heretics, John 23 through JP2, AS A CARDINAL. He thereby disqualified himself from voting in any subsequent elections or presenting as papabile at said elections, (Can. 2391 no. 1). It was no secret that Pope Pius XII labeled Roncalli’s Vatican file with the tag “Suspected Modernist,” as reported in “Pope John XXIII,” by Paul Johnson and elsewhere. And Siri could have separated himself easily from Roncalli without fear of censure, since “Cum ex…” states that those who separate from the obedience of such heretics will not be penalized and may even call upon the secular authorities to unseat the usurper. So why did Siri not cite this document and proceed to inveigh upon any sympathetic civil authority; or in their absence, the laity as a body? It is reported that he had at his beck and call a potent coterie of “wealthy industrialists and…powerful right-wing elements,” which he mysteriously failed to mobilize in defense of his supposed papacy and to publicly condemn the false Vatican 2 doctrines he at first protested, (“Vatican II,” Xavier Rynne, pg. 571). Why would a Cardinal not know of “Cum ex’s” existence, when it is the basis for some of the most important legislation in the 1917 Code? And if the document was not known to exist in 1958, why did Siri not jump at the chance to use “Cum ex…” once it was discovered in the early 1970s (some say late 1960s)?

Gary Giuffre’s bosom buddy, Dan Jones knew it existed in the late 1970s and Giuffre’s boss, Hutton Gibson, also knew the bull existed then. So since this is the case, why wasn’t Siri familiar with this document? Is it possible that, as Veritas stated in its Feb.-March 1977 “A Packet from Mexico” issue, Rev. Saenz already had spoken with Siri? “We did hear that Fr. Saenz went several times to Rome to talk with the older Cardinals familiar with Montini’s…background and who are in the sensitive position to legally assemble a conclave to depose the usurper Paul 6,” Veritas staff wrote on page eight of this issue. “But Fr. Saenz was not successful in his effort.” In a flyer issued by “Catholics Forever” to promote Rev. Saenz’ book “The New Montinian Church,” the editor also verified Saenz’ contact with these “older cardinals.” If Siri truly had been chosen in any of the elections that followed the death of Pope Pius XII, wouldn’t Rev. Saenz have relayed this somehow? Would it not have prevented him from writing his “Sede Vacante”?

Which Khoat story: 1988 or 1989?
Peter Tran Van Khoat initially told Gary Giuffre and certain clerics at St. Jude’s Shrine that Siri denied three times that he was pope during a visit to Rome Khoat made in the spring of 1988, where he met with Siri. Yet in a conversation with Jim Condit a year later, at one time published online, Khoat told Condit that not only was Siri elected, but that he had been elected in 1958. How convenient that these claims are made after Siri’s death, and also after the publication and circulation of “Will the Catholic Church Survive…?” Khoat also apparently made claims of some sort that the Church either would soon have or already had a true pope issuing from Siri’s “line.” This claim insinuated, as evidenced by the advertisement placed in the Houston Post in the summer of 1990, that Khoat was the “Cardinal Camerlengo” or in charge of a new election (or was at least a cardinal), and was summoning and did summon other “Cardinals” for a supposed “election.” This is verified by the publication and circulation of Khoat’s “New Event of Man’s History” In Dan Jones’ Sangre de Cristo Newsnotes, July 1990 issue. So even though Siri’s “line” had not been officially established as valid, according to the teachings of the Church, and the details not even released that would establish it, the “Siri fact” was “proven.”

One witness priest overseas, pointed to by the Siri camp itself, said that Siri declined his election because he did not feel worthy to follow in Pope Pius XII’s footsteps. If true, this only strengthens the evidence that Siri did NOT ever accept the election, and therefore never became pope, (see Pope Pius XII’s “Six ans se Sont”). But Khoat later denies this, and based entirely on his say-so, without any signed and witnessed documents from Siri, on the strength, instead, of hearsay testimony and rumor, the Siri theory became what it is today. In 20 years it has remained only an unsubstantiated theory simply because the many contradictions surrounding its major premise cannot be explained: that Siri’s confirmed election and his resultant acceptance of that election, which alone could make him pope, actually occurred and can be proven to have occurred. Also, that he was able to accept such an election as an indisputable member of the Church. His supporters adamantly refuse to consider Siri’s orthodoxy in relation to his “election,” even in light of irrefutable proofs. The very criteria which allowed Traditionalists to clear the field for Siri — the arguments used initially to prove the V2 popes invalid — were never applied to Siri himself. Siri’s denials of the faith are easily accessible via the Internet, for those who really seek the truth. The fact that he signed V2 documents alone, the factor used in judging the orthodoxy of every other V2 cardinal or bishop, is proof enough. In fact far from being orthodox, Siri was definitely a cardinal of the Novus Ordo church, not the Catholic Church. Siri’s “supporters,” (or at least those who support his shadowy and equally dubious “successor”), are truly chasing phantoms, and to prove this, the following is provided.

Siri and the Nazi “ratlines
It was well known in Roman circles that Siri hated Communism. But did this hatred propel him in directions that placed him in collusion with Giovanni Montini?
In the last days of WWII, Cardinal Maglione, in charge of Pontifical assistance to refugees died and was replaced by Montini. Montini then entered into cooperation with one Bishop Alois Hudal, of Austria, a Nazi sympathizer stationed in Rome. In his 1976 book Romanische Tagebucher, Hudal admits that he helped war criminals, but never claims he did so with Pius XII’s knowledge or encouragement. While, many writers have alleged that Hudal and Pius XII were close, Hudal complains about Vatican officials in his book, Pius XII included, accusing them of favoring the Allies. According to the blog Commonwealth, the Vatican has always acknowledged that, “Bishop Alois Hudal of Austria, a Nazi sympathizer stationed in Rome, and a Croatian priest named Krunoslav Draganovic, helped some war criminals.” But there is no evidence that Pius XII knew about or cooperated with these activities. “It is this Austrian bishop who, more than any other figure, did so much to give the Catholic Church its reputation as a Nazi conduit,” (“Hunting Evil,” by Guy Walters). “The good news for Catholics,” Walters said on his website in August 2009, “is that Pius XII must be treated as innocent.” Walters makes it clear, however, that he personally believes the Pope knew the ratlines existed.

The Croatian, Mgr. Krunoslav Draganovic and Hudal were the main players in the rat line operation, a series of tunnels that reportedly ran right up to the vicinity of the Vatican. Draganovic was a chaplain at the Jasenovac concentration camps in Croatia, where many atrocities took place during the war. According to John and Mark Aarons in their work “Unholy Trinity,” where they quote the Nazi Ladislaus Farago, “It was Montini who allowed Hudal access to Vatican passports and other identity and travel documents, which he then used to aid his Nazi friends…There is some circumstantial evidence in the American diplomatic records to support the claim that Montini was deliberately aiding Hudal’s Nazi-smuggling…” (Ibid.; pp. 34-35.)” Nazi war criminal Walter Rauff was a close friend of Hudal’s. The Aarons report that writers for the French magazine “Cercle Noir” (with ties to the Priory of Zion, according to authors Lincoln, Leigh and Baigent) link Rauff to “Archbishop Giuseppe Siri of Genoa…a key player in the Nazi smuggling operation.”

Rauff was probably the moneyman behind the smuggling endeavor, which was directed by British Intelligence operatives James Angleton and John Dulles. One of Siri’s secretaries is said to have helped fund the smuggling operation. But the Aarons’ speculate that this only augmented the funds Rauff already had in his possession from various money laundering and counterfeiting operations. The Aarons write: “Some of the most wanted Nazi war criminals passed from Rauff in Milan, to Bishop Hudal at the Anima in Rome and then on to Archbishop Siri in Genoa. Here they boarded ships and left for new lives in South America…” (Ibid.; pp. 39-40.) Clearly the operation was one arranged by Montini with the help of British Intelligence, who he worked for throughout WWII according to many different sources. This operation later resulted in a suit against the Vatican by Holocaust survivors to recover money made on properties owned by Croation Jews, sold for profit by the Nazis, with the profits then deposited in the Vatican Bank.
The publicity about the ratlines and this lawsuit is what fueled the accusations against Pope Pius XII concerning collaboration with the Nazis. And yet the blame for this cooperation with Hitler’s former SS rested instead on Montini, Hudal, Siri, and a pack of criminals, surprising bedfellows to say the least. Is it possible that Siri’s powerful right-wing industrial friends were Nazi sympathizers, that their friendships were forged, perhaps, during and after the war? Why would Siri have agreed to become involved in such an enterprise? And why was he involved with Montini on any level if he was a true “Traditionalist”? It should be duly noted here that if Siri researchers use declassified and like documents to support his election, they also must consider equally these documents on the existence of the ratlines, a fact NO officials have already confirmed.

Siri was deposed for heresy “pre-election”
At the beginning of the false Vatican 2 council, Siri and 18 others addressed a letter to John 23 “expressing their ‘disquietude over false doctrines’ being aired at the council,” (Vatican Council II, Xavier Rynne, pg. 125). Eventually five bishops withdrew their signatures from the letter and Siri was among the 14 who remained. Nothing, however — no standing protest, no withdrawal from participation in the council, no public outcry by this group — ever marked Siri and his conservative faction as truly orthodox and willing to defend the Faith at all costs. In fact, at the council’s conclusion, despite Siri’s known old-school stance, Siri and his friend, fellow conservative Ruffini sat quietly and submissively at the right hand of Paul 6 as the antipope spoke to the Italian bishops during a semi-private audience. “His talk…dealt principally with the attitude [the bishops] would be expected to adopt after the council was over…It was obvious from the Pope’s tone that he expected compliance also from [Siri and Ruffini]…” (Rynne, pg. 571). Another Italian bishop (Carli), an aide to Card. Ottaviani, had threatened mutiny at one of the closing sessions, but was silenced by the soothing words accredited to Siri in an earlier conference a week prior to the bishop’s meeting. Siri reportedly told a priest at this conference that the council decisions “are not definitions; they will never bind us.”

According to Rynne, even after the council closed Carli remained distressed, threatening to light himself on fire Buddhist-style in protest to all that the council destroyed.
But Siri remained silent. As mentioned above, friends in high places would have supported him had he really wished to challenge the powers that be. And his stated assumption that the faithful would not be bound by Vatican 2 decrees later was exploded by Paul 6. In a general audience Jan.12, 1966 Montini announced that the Council’s teachings always enjoy at least “the authority of the supreme ordinary Magisterium. This ordinary Magisterium, which is so obviously official, has to be accepted with docility and sincerity by all the faithful, in accordance with the mind of the Council on the nature and aims of the individual documents.” Siri had to be aware that a group of bishops had rejected Paul 6’s interdenominational prayer service with all council attendees at the end of the council as heresy and communicatio in sacris. He was most likely aware of the comment made during the council by Msgr. Antonio Piolanti, Rector Magnificus at the Lateran University, that “there are rationalist theologians going about Rome seducing innocent foreign bishops,” or the comment Piolanti made to one of his classes: “Remember, the pope can be deposed if he falls into heresy,” but Rynne dismisses this remark as a joke. Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” article for Jan. 4, 1963 reported both these comments, so they were widely read.

Siri had support; he had allies to rely upon both before and after the council. Siri knew, but he failed to deliver; and so did his constituents. And finally there is the matter of Pope Pius XII’s failure to name a Cardinal Camerlengo, the head cardinal who, after the death of the pope organizes and calls the next papal election. Siri supporters have seized upon this fact as an indication that Pius XII, whose last appointed cardinal just happened to be Siri was signaling the world that Siri was his choice as a successor. But this does not follow. The best indication of who will succeed the Pope is whoever reigns as Vatican (Pro-) Secretary of State. Rampolla was Leo XIII’s secretary, and was very nearly elected. Pacelli served in this position under Pope Pius XI. Montini was Pope Pius XII’s secretary until his dismissal in 1953, and there have been other instances of this throughout history. None of the biographies written on Pope Pius XII name Siri as his successor-in-grooming, or for that matter mention Siri at all. Paul Murphy, who wrote the biography of Pope Pius XII’s dear friend and assistant, Sr. Pascalina, relates that the nun discussed potential successors of Pius with Cardinal Spellman the day of Pius’ death. Siri was never mentioned as a possible successor, nor Ottaviani, although Ruffini, Siri’s friend, was mentioned as a possibility. Sr. Pascalina had no use for Ruffini, who was known to be the intimate friend of Don Calgaro Vizzini, head of the Sicilian Mafia and one of the most powerful men in Italy, (Murphy, pg. 233).

Siri’s name is nowhere to be found in the book. Sr. Pascalina did not feel that anyone could replace Pacelli. Murphy himself noted that certainly no successor could “be trusted to carry on the strictly doctrinaire ecclesiastical policies of Pius XII,” (pg. 283). A generation raised on fairy tales with happy-ever-after endings would understandably hope that despite all indications to the contrary, the knight in shining armor soon will arrive to rescue them from the dungeon and restore the kingdom. Siri’s “successor” is either waiting in the wings, prepared to appear on cue, or Siri theorists will revert to the material pope theory. Bp. Pintonello, who some maintain participated in the election of Victor von Pentz, (Linus II) is alleged by Siri theorists to have played some cryptic role in the continuation of Siri’s “line.” Pintonello is now deceased, and some yet hold that he resigned as “pope” in favor of Linus’ 1994 election and then consecrated Linus bishop following his election. They intimate that Gertsner believed that Pintonello, hence Linus II, continued Siri’s “line” and that this was the purpose of his election. Some speculate that Linus is their “hidden pope.” Yet this contradicts all that Gertsner said previously in Kyrie Eleison.

The clue to the solution of this puzzle lies in Hutton Gibson’s comment concerning Giuffre’s refusal to consult Countess Gerstner concerning the likelihood of Siri’s election in 1958. For some inexplicable reason, Giuffre and Hobson must promote Siri at all costs, although they may disagree on the identity of his “successor.” The only possible reason they could have clung all this time to their ill-founded, secrecy-shrouded fantasies is to prevent the followers in their train from acting on doubts that even the older priests could function without at least a purported pope reigning to supply jurisdiction. As long as it can be insinuated that no laws are being broken because this pope does indeed supply, or at least could supply, the erroneous ideas concerning indefectibility and papal authority these Traditionalists hold can be justified and their opponents’ objections quelled. In other words, Siri must be pope because the Church must have a pope, not because he was proven to be pope, worthy to be pope or able to be elected pope. Church law be hanged: necessity dictates the facts, especially when the income provided by supporters is at stake. The prospect of heresy isn’t even enough to deter them.

Canon 1325, 1917 Code: “The faithful are bound to profess their faith publicly, whenever silence, subterfuge or their manner of acting would otherwise entail an implicit denial of faith, a contempt of religion, an insult to God, or scandal to their neighbor;” this is the Church’s stated canonical definition of heresy. Certainly in Siri’s case, ALL these circumstances existed.

Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, para. 6: “If ever at any time it becomes clear that any…Cardinal, or likewise any Roman Pontiff…before their promotion or elevation…has strayed from the faith or fallen into heresy…his promotion or elevation shall be null, valid and void.” It is clear from what is presented below that Joseph Siri publicly accepted John 23 and all the other antipopes as true popes, thereby committing public heresy and incurring deposition from his office as cardinal, (Can. 188§4). Therefore he was never “pope” himself, nor could he even have been considered papabile. Remember that one instance of heresy is enough to incur deposition and ipso facto excommunication.

“Holy Ideals and Celestial Presence,” by Card. Joseph Siri, Rome 1965: “The great mission assigned by Providence to John XXIII of holy memory…was that of bringing back among men a more comprehensive, brotherly and trustful opening in their relationships with each other…He, the Pope, always spoke of faith, hope, humility, obedience…He put up with honors, but only in as far as they were attributed to Christ’s Vicar…”

“In God’s Name,” by David Yallop: “It is a matter of record that Siri presided over the nine-day funeral observances or “Novemdiales” for antipopes Roncalli, Montini and Luciani. Yallop notes in his work: “During the series of nine memorial masses [for Paul 6]…homilies were delivered by, among others, Cardinal Siri. The man who had blocked and obstructed Pope Paul at every turn pledged himself to the aims of the late pontiff.”

“The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 20th Century,” No. 304, December 1997:”If one were to identify in the early ’60s one event – and one only! – that marked the approach of the spiritual chastisement predicted in the third Secret, it would clearly have to be the opening speech of Vatican II, which assigned the Council as its programme the Reform of the Church herself, rather than the correction of the errors and faults of her members. The reaction of the renowned Cardinal Siri – or, to be more exact, the absence of his reaction on this occasion – clearly illustrates the failure of the hierarchy predicted in the third Secret. On the following day in fact he wrote in his private diary, “I did not understand very much in the Pope’s speech. In the little I did understand I found an excellent opportunity of making a great act of mental obedience… This evening I carefully analyzed the Pope’s speech so that I might align [sic] my way of thinking with that of the Vicar of Christ.”

“The Church, the Council and the Unconscious: How Hidden Forces Shaped the Catholic Church,” by James Arraj: “Cardinal Giuseppe Siri wrote in his diary of the need to study the ‘historical propaedeutics’ of the errors that are resurfacing. He suggests not only looking at what Benigni had to say about them, but adding reflections on ‘the pathology that affects theological studies when various methodologies derived from idealism, historicism, rationalism are introduced. For modernism is creeping in and is supported by historical criticism.’” And when, we would like to know, did Siri ever stand up and denounce this “modernism”?!

“Twelve Council Fathers,” by Walter Abbot, S.J., (quoting Siri):
It may take 50 years before the full achievements of the Council are discerned.” (Is this the true but falsely re-written statement made by Siri and generally circulated by his supporters that it would take 50 years to undo the work of the council?!) “But certain fruits are evident already, and they are important. First, the Church sees more clearly now the work that is cut out for it for the next 100 years. And, as the Holy Father himself has indicated, the approach is a pastoral one…It was a wise and provident thing that we began the work of the Council with the liturgy. It struck a very positive note. It went to the heart of things.”But of course Siri followers deny he ever said the Novus Ordo Missae.

Other considerations
Siri’s oath
Whether Siri was elected or not, he violated his sworn oath to Pope Pius XII who made him a cardinal. The oath reads: “For the praise of Almighty God and the honor of the Apostolic See, receive the red hat…By this you are to understand that you must show yourself fearless, even to the shedding of blood, in making our holy Faith respected, in securing peace for the Christian people and in promoting the welfare of the Roman Church. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” Whether during or after the Conclave, Siri showed himself unworthy of the cardinalate he received. He also, then, would be a candidate considered unworthy for election to the papacy. In his 1939 work “Canonical Elections,” Rev. Anscar Parsons described as unworthy for election those whose lives are “sinful or scandalous.” Violating a solemn oath dependent upon receiving a particular office is definitely scandalous, and is a mortal sin according to Rev. McHugh and Callan’s two-volume work on moral theology. “There is no doubt that a mortal sin is committed when one…unjustly refuses to live up to a sworn engagement made under oath, for this is irreligion and injustice in a serious matter.” This is true especially when it entails the welfare of the entire Church of Christ and the expulsion of a proven heretic.

Cardinal Siri’s non accepto of the papacy, if indeed it ever occurred, may have been the result of force and/or fear. But Siri had sworn to divest himself of this fear and be injured or die rather than damage the reverence owed to Holy Faith and the welfare of the Church. Canon 1317 (1917 Code) states: “The person who has freely sworn to do something is bound by a special obligation of religion to accomplish what he has promised under oath…An oath, taken without violence and deceit, by which a person renounces some private good or favor given him by law itself, must be observed whenever it does not involve the ruin of the soul,” and obviously holding to his oath would have been the only way to prevent the ruin of Siri’s soul. Siri denied his loyalty to the Church of Pope Pius XII and declared his allegiance to the anti- Church in violating his oath. Canon 1321 declares that: “An oath must be strictly interpreted according to law and according to the intention of the person taking the oath — or, if the latter should act deceitfully, according to the intention of him to whom the oath was made.”

There can be no doubt that Pope Pius XII wished to bind Siri absolutely by this oath. Neither, then is there any doubt that if he indeed was elected and chose to remain “hidden” in violating his oath, Siri grossly insulted and denied the “praise of Almighty God and the honor of the Apostolic See.” This being the case, it would seem that he may have committed the most grievous act of treason possible against his own Church, and thereby forfeited his status as a member of that Church. Siri was a Cardinal, and in “Cum ex…,” Pope Paul IV holds Cardinals, bishops and priests to a far higher standard than the laity in matters of faith. He cannot be accorded diminished capacity, because in freely surrendering his right to be intimidated by force or fear in his oath to Pope Pius XII, he voluntarily removed this factor mitigating his guilt, (Can. 2199). Siri was required by Canon Law to establish juridical documentation of his election prior to his death. Such documentation cannot of its nature be kept a secret.

Contempt of Faith
In 1944, Rev. Alan McCoy O.F.M., J.C.L. wrote a dissertation, “Force and Fear in Relation to Delictual Imputability and Penal Responsibility,” (Catholic University of America). Under the general heading of “Delictual Acts Interdicted by Divine Authority,” he writes: “When an act is intrinsically evil, or involves contempt of the faith or of ecclesiastical authority, or works to the detriment of soulsimputability is not taken away in such cases since in these instances the observance of the law still urges under the pain of sin, even though the most severe personal hardship or danger, or also the greatest private harm might come from such observance. And the reason for this is that some spiritual good, either of God or of the Church or of individual souls is involved…There is consequently always grave guilt in the deliberate transgression of such a law.” As Rev. William Conway also notes in his “Problems in Canon Law,” grave inconvenience which excuses from the observance of a law applies only to ecclesiasticallaws; McCoy speaks here of violations of Divine law. And McCoy duly notes that not even the gravest personal hardship or greatest private harm excuses from observing the law.  In the violation of the Divine law, positive or natural, only grave fear externally manifested to witnesses would excuse from incurring the censure attached to the violation of such laws, (1937 decision by the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code). While it applies to delictual acts that are intrinsically evil, it does not excuse from those acts which, “involve contempt of the Faith or work to the public harm of souls,” (Ibid).

On page 92 McCoy discusses what the Code considers to be acts involving contempt of the faith. He identifies the titles in the Code containing these acts as XI and XII of the fifth book, concerning “Delicts Against the Faith and Unity of the Church and Delicts Against Religion.” These include heresy, apostasy and schism; communication in sacred rites with heretics; usurpation of priestly functions and sacrilege, also any recourse to the civil power from the acts of the Apostolic See and interference with the liberty and rights of the Church, among others. These last two offenses must be considered because both Pope Pius XII’s papal election law and the Church’s rights have been ignored. As mentioned elsewhere, Catholics are bound by Can. 1325 to profess their faith in the face of persecution, and this means they are never to resort to silence, subterfuge or indicate by their manner of acting that they are denying their faith. Whether intended or not, Traditionalists continual violation of Pope Pius XII’s election law, especially the invocation of supplied jurisdiction reserved especially to the Roman Pontiff contrary to this same law, shows a particular contempt for the laws and rights of the papacy. Essentially such behavior at least implicitly denies the necessity of the papacy and the supremacy of the pope, and this undeniably works to the public harm of every soul on earth.

On page 97, under the heading “Acts that Work to the Detriment of Souls,” McCoy writes: “These are all acts which draw people away from the faith or from the practice of Christian morals and thus expose them to the danger of eternal damnation…Those acts which, by their nature, work to the detriment of souls are listed particularly in Titles XVI and XVII of the fifth book of the Code…bearing the headings: ‘Offenses Committed in the Administration or Reception of Orders or the Other Sacraments’ and ‘Offenses Against the Obligations Proper to the Clerical and Religious State.’” Among the offenses McCoy lists that work to the detriment of souls are: “…the administration of Sacraments to those who are forbidden to receive them…the consecration of a bishop without a papal mandate…the reception of Orders from unworthy prelates…the negligence of a pastor in the care of soulsconspiracy against the Roman Pontiff…interference with the liberty and rights of the Church, (Can. 2334)…” And McCoy adds: “Almost any delict can tend to contempt of the faith or of ecclesiastical authority if it is committed in certain aggravating circumstances.” And what circumstances could be more grave or aggravating than these?! In his conclusions, McCoy notes: “When the excuse of force or fear is noted in the external forum, the burden of proof rest always on the one alleging the force or fear…” Siri never even privately alleged such force or fear, no matter what inferences his “supporters” have made, and all is swallowed up in the shadowy world of conspiracy theory doubles, secret codes, unreleased classified documents, etc. Of course McCoy is not considering acts performed by one who has taken the Cardinal’s oath, or by one who is purportedly acting as Christ’s Vicar. This is subject matter for Cum ex…, the old law now prevailing. And as seen below, Can. 2200 and St. Robert Bellarmine resolve the problem. But first we must refer to Pope Pius XII’s 1945 election law.


Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis
Concerning the Power of the Sacred College of Cardinals
while the Apostolic See is Vacant
1. During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, regarding those things that pertained to the Sovereign Roman Pontiff while he lived, the Sacred College of Cardinals shall have absolutely no power or jurisdiction of rendering neither a favor nor justice or of carrying out a favor or justice rendered by the deceased Pontiff; rather, let the College be obliged to reserve all these things to the future Pontiff.1 Therefore, We declare invalid and void any power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff in his lifetime, which the assembly of Cardinals might decide to exercise (while the Church is without a Pope), except to the extent to which it be expressly permitted in this Our Constitution.
2. Likewise we command that the Sacred College of Cardinals shall not have the power to make a determination in any way it pleases concerning the rights of the Apostolic See and of the Roman Church, nor attempt in any way to subtract directly or indirectly from the rights of the same on the pretext of a relaxation of attention or by the concealment of actions perpetrated against these same rights even after the death of the Pontiff or in the period of the vacancy. On the contrary, We desire that the College ought to watch over and defend these rights during the contention of all influential forces.
3. The laws issued by Roman Pontiffs in no way can be corrected or changed by the assembly of Cardinals of the Roman Church while it is without a Pope, nor can anything be subtracted from them or added or dispensed in any way whatsoever with respect to said laws or any part of them. This prohibition is especially applicable in the case of Pontifical Constitutions issued to regulate the business of the election of the Roman Pontiff. In truth, if anything adverse to this command should by chance happen to come about or be attempted, We declare it, by Our Supreme Authority, to be null and void.

Can. 2200
Canon 2200 states that:  “Given the external violation of a law, the evil will is presumed in the internal forum.” Revs. Woywod-Smith comment: “The authorities presume, therefore, that a subject knows the law and, if he violates it, he is considered to have broken it willfully.” And this especially refers to heresy, apostasy and schism. Pope Paul IV teaches in his bull that that, “[these] censures and penalties shall be incurred by all who have, in the past, been apprehended or have confessed or been convicted of deviating from the faith or falling into some heresy or of incurring, inciting or committing schism, or who shall hereafter — which may God deign to avert through His decency and goodness toward all — stray or fall into heresy,” (para. 2). Canon 2200 presumes one is suspect of heresy until proven innocent, and is incapacitated accordingly until innocence is proven. Canon 1827 states: “He who has a presumption of law in his favor is freed from the burden of proof, which is shifted to his opponent; if the latter cannot prove the presumption failed in the case, the judge must render sentence in favor of the one on whose side the presumption stands.” Already Can. 1826 has stated: “Against an absolute presumption of law…only indirect proof is admitted — that is, contrary to the fact which is the foundation of the presumption.”
The fact which is the foundation for this presumption just happens to be an infallible bull, the authority of which cannot be overcome. For Canons 1812-1813 state: “In every kind of trial, proof by both public and ecclesiastical documents are admitted, (1812). The principal public ecclesiastical documents are (1) acts of the Supreme Pontiff [and] of the Roman Curia…issued in the exercise of their office and in authentic form, (1813).” Canon 1813 §3 defines private documents as “letters…and any other writings by private persons,” and these are the inferior “proofs” offered by the Siri proponents. Public documents both ecclesiastical and civil, “prove the facts directly and principally asserted,” (Can. 1816), and ), and force the judge to pronounce in favor of the party producing the document, (commentary by Revs. Woywod-Smith). “Proof to the contrary is not admitted against Letters of the Roman Pontiff bearing his signature,” (Msgr. Amleto Cicognani, Canon Law, p. 626, ft. note). Documents entered into the Acta Apostolic Sedis do not need to be submitted in the original or be an authenticated copy, (Can. 1819).
The above laws reflect and explain the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine, who wrote in his De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30, et al: “Then indeed the Roman clergy, stripping Liberius of his pontifical dignity, went over to Felix, whom they knew [then] to be a Catholic. From that time, Felix began to be the true Pontiff. For although Liberius was not a heretic, nevertheless he was considered one, on account of the peace he made with the Arians, and by that presumption the pontificate could rightly [merito] be taken from him: for men are not bound, or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple [simpliciter], and condemn him as a heretic.”  Apparently Liberius deviated from the faith in some way before becoming pope, and such deviation only became apparent after he was elected, as Pope Paul IV teaches.

Non accepto
According to Giuffre, Siri said he could not discuss the papal elections in question because “I am bound by the secret.” This comment was a veiled indication of the answer to all Giuffre’s research, but it was an answer he did not understand. For this is an admission that Siri had participated in the elections only as a cardinal and considered himself still a cardinal, under the obedience of the NO church. All the cardinals participating in the election are bound by the secret save the one elected. Siri was never elected; either that or he declined election and never accepted within the specified time period. Had he indeed accepted, official notice of this would have been made. Woywod-Smith write: “The acceptance of the office and the choice of a name are then certified by document,” (commentary on Pope Pius XII’s “Vacantis Apostolica Sedis”). The pope-elect receives universal jurisdiction upon acceptance of his election and may immediately exercise it. The Church must always establish the personal identity of the new Pontiff and his chosen name, as these constitute dogmatic facts. To date, no pope ever has reigned in secret, unknown to the majority of his subjects, and the history of the papacy is one of persecutions, invasions, captivity, imprisonment and martyrdom.

Private revelations
Something also should be said here concerning the numerous revelations used to support Siri’s putative “election.” Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey writes that the assent given to private revelations is “not an act of Catholic faith but one of human faith, based upon the fact that these revelations are probable and worthy of credence,” (“The Spiritual Life”). Pope Benedict XIV states in his teaching governing beatification that such an assent is to be made “according to the rules of prudence,” for these rules dictate that such revelations are “probable and worthy of pious belief.” These teachings say nothing concerning the actual application of various prophecies to a certain event or individual. Such an application would be prudent only if the individual in question was unquestionably Catholic. If not such application is impossible. To employ the extensive use of prophecy to “document” anything dependent on the laws and teachings of the Church for belief is to circumvent those laws and teachings and make an appeal to the imagination and emotions rather than the intellect. The Church does not condemn the use of intuition in certain matters provided that such a use is secondary to the application of Catholic teachings concerning the faith. But when those norms determining what is to be believed concerning faith have excluded such an application, it is contrary to faith itself to apply them to matters able to be determined as contrary to faith or morals.

Any researcher can make mistakes, even in matters concerning faith. In these times the confusion surrounding the crisis in the Church, the absence of reliable instruction in the faith, differences in language and culture and the false teachings that abound all work against the efforts of anyone seeking the truth. The problem doesn’t lie in making the mistake; the problem lies in admitting and correcting it. Anyone can fall, but not all rise after falling. It is never too late to dust oneself off and stand up, but few choose to do so. Fear of being discredited and losing face are usually the reasons they don’t. They are not valid reasons. We all have an obligation to make the truth known no matter the cost. And we are bound to save others from any errors we may have spread, even if we had no intention to deliberately deceive them. Siri supporters can scarcely condemn the NO on one hand and endorse Siri on the other. Siri was undeniably a part of the V2 church. He had less excuse than even Lefebvre, Thuc or other “bishops” by far for his actions, exceeding them in dignity. Siri’s case was worth investigating, but that investigation has only produced more questions and precious few answers. Pope St. Pius X taught that the assent of Faith cannot rest ultimately on “an aggregation of probabilities,” (DZ 2025). One must be able to arrive at certitude in such a serious matter as whether a man is truly pope. Sadly, the Siri affair has succeeded only in proving that certitude can be reached — certitude that Siri abandoned the Catholic faith long ago.

In unquestionably recognizing Roncalli as pope in his public writings; in delivering Paul 6’s funeral oration and pledging himself to fulfill this antipope’s agenda, long after the destruction in the Church was painfully clear, Siri left no doubt that he embraced the heretical teachings of the false Vatican 2 council, the institution of the Novus Ordo Missae and the heretical changes in the rites of the Sacraments instituted by Christ. Roncalli’s insertion of St. Joseph in the Canon violated the Divine Traditions of the Church. The insertion of “for all” into the Canon likewise violated these Traditions, contradicted the Council of Trent and falsified the very words found in Divine revelation as defined by a Council of the Church. That a true Pope, bound to guard the flock against the very wolves that consumed it, could somehow consider his own life more precious than his lambs’ is not only preposterous — it is contrary to Divine revelation. Was it not Christ Himself who told us: “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep,” later fulfilling this prophecy with His Passion and death? And did He not also predict that once the pastor has been stuck the sheep would be scattered? We will know the voice of the Good Shepherd when he comes. Until then, we can only pray and watch.

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Gregory XVIII / “Fr.” Tran Van Khoat fraud exposed! 

H. Who do we believe on Cum ex — Hergenrother, or the popes?

Who do we believe on Cum ex — Hergenrother, or the popes?

© Copyright 2014, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)

Some now point to the writings of “the learned” Cardinal Hergenrother, who wrote “The Catholic Church and Christian State” in 1876, to prove that, as Hergenrother claims, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio (Cum ex…) is only a disciplinary law and could not possibly be infallible. Learned he may have been, but like so many theologians writing even after the Vatican Council; and despite subsequent papal teaching to the contrary, he failed to fully apprehend the full import of the Vatican Council documents, especially in relation to Cum ex…  His work after all was one about the civil law, and it is true that anything in Cum ex… which excommunicates those possessing civil power long ago lost all effect. But how could he possibly hold the primary gist of Cum ex… as non-infallible, and only a mere disciplinary decree, when the Vatican Council infallibly taught the following: “If anyone thus speaks that the Roman Pontiff has…not the full power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals but also in those things which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church…Or that this power is not ordinary and immediate…over pastors and faithful altogether and individually; let him be anathema.” Hergenrother says in his work, “The Bull…only contains penal sanctions against heresy, which belong to disciplinary laws alone…Besides the renewal of old, there is an addition of new punishments, which equally belongs to the sphere of discipline.”

Henry Cardinal Manning refers to various past bulls in his “The Vatican Decrees and Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance.” In that work he says: “The Vatican Council… definition, by retrospective action, makes all Pontifical acts infallible, the Bull Unam Sanctam included.” Manning also names as infallible the bulls Unigenitus and Auctorem Fidei, Auctorem Fidei being a bull almost entirely devoted to disciplinary measures.

Nothing is more official in the way of pontifical acts than a papal bull. In his “A Catholic Dictionary,” Donald Attwater defines a bull as: “The most solemn and weighty form of papal letter.” Of course there are those who have said and do say that the above Vatican Council quote states only that that the pope has jurisdiction over the faithful in matters of discipline as well as faith and morals, not that he can be infallible in such matters. But as we will see below, Pope Pius IX clarified this matter, shortly after the Vatican Council ended, in two separate constitutions. We also must object to Hergenrother’s statement in his work that “Infallibility only relates to moral precepts, to the general principles which the Pope prescribes to all Christians as a rule of conduct, not to the application of these principles to individual cases,” (emph. his).  Clearly from what the Vatican Council teaches above, the pope’s power extends to individuals,” not just the general body of the faithful.

Taken in the context of a refutation to the Old Catholics, who were interpreting it wrongly, one might be able to understand in a remote way how Hergenrother arrived at his conclusions; but I most vehemently disagree with them as a denial of the Vatican Council teaching quoted above and the teachings of the Church on this subject throughout the centuries. We must obey God, not men. So let us get it straight, once and for all, that nothing a cardinal says will trump papal teaching, ever. Christ did not guarantee the cardinals’ faith would never fail; only Peter’s. He only wished or willed that the hierarchy of the Church should last until the end of time (DZ 1821), and since when has anyone ever cared what God willed? People refuse to do God’s will on a daily basis to follow their own evil will and have since the beginning of time. This misunderstanding of papal teaching and power is what has caused Catholics to misapprehend their faith for centuries. Already in the 1970s, Traditionalists were teaching the ordinary magisterium is not infallible, most notably some among the SSPX, “Fr.” Oswald Baker, “Fr.” Khoat in the 1980s and others, when this is clearly an infallible teaching, (DZ 1792). It appears in Baker’s own written sermons and this author heard it personally from Khoat. Both were guilty of heresy. Pope Pius IX condemned this error among writers and theologians years before the Vatican Council convened, (See DZ 1683) so it is nothing that was introduced with infallibility.

This is the other topic Traditionalists totally misrepresent and fail to understand — heresy, apostasy and schism. How could such matters be limited to disciplinary actions when they most intimately concern whether a person does or does not possess the faith, and what penalty will be assessed for this?! The only reason Protestants were ever able to claim Cum ex… “depoped” a pope is because they did not read that bull correctly or understand it in the light of faith. From the beginning of my studies on Cum ex…, I made the proper distinction, one some readers obviously have either missed or ignored, (/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/traditionalist-heresies-and-errors/heresies-concerning-papal-authority/why-a-legitimate-roman-pontiff-could-never-become-a-heretic-but-could-only-appear-to-become-one/). And I do not HAVE to use only Cum ex… to demonstrate (yes, even amateur scholastics are required to demonstrate their arguments) that these popes were never popes, from the beginning; that is dictated by Canon Law and Pope Pius XII’s election law. Even if Hergenrother was correct and Paul IV’s bull was only disciplinary in nature, it would still be binding on Catholics. But he is NOT correct; and the proof of this lies in the fact that whether Cum ex… appears in Denzinger’s or not (and the very fact that it might confuse some in the same way it confused Protestants is a good reason why it might not be included), it is the entire basis for nearly every Canon written on the determination (not just the censures) of what constitutes heresy, apostasy and schism.

Rev. Nicolas Neuberger, in his Commentary on Canon 6 has cited the Church’s laws concerning discipline as negatively infallible, meaning that they cannot work to the harm of souls or the destruction of the divine principle of perpetuity and infallibility on which the Church is built. Volume V (v), of the Catholic Encyclopedia, under “Discipline” states that it is the unanimous opinion of the theologians that “discipline enjoys a negative, indirect infallibility, i.e., the Church can prescribe nothing that would be contrary to the natural or Divine law, nor prohibit anything that the natural or Divine law would exact.” Pope Pius IX declared the unanimous opinion of theologians to be infallible, and hence anything determined by them unanimously must be firmly believed. (DZ 1683). Those things which are indirectly infallible also are binding, and if they are based on the divine or natural law they must be accepted with an irrevocable assent. Also, as Rev. Patrick Madgett explains: “In analyzing the solemn teaching of the Church, we find that the Church exercises the fullness of Her infallible teaching authority to demand an irrevocable assent to matters which are not explicitly revealed, and apparently not even implicitly revealed. These definitions and decisions… of Ecclesiastical Faith are so intimately connected with faith that one could not deny them without implicitly denying some article of faith. They are to be believed…on the word of the Church, God’s infallible teacher,” (Christian Origins, Vol. II, 1943; emphasis Madgett’s).

While those who are contesting the authority of this bull say that Cum ex… is not listed in Denzinger’s “Sources of Catholic Dogma,” what is listed there for belief by Wycliffe’s followers and the Hussites is the following: “”Whether he believes that the pope canonically elected, who lived for a time, after having expressed his own name, is the successor of Blessed Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God,” (DZ 674). The canons governing papal elections are found in Pope Pius XII’s election law, Vacantis Apostolica Sedis. There we find that one deposed for heresy cannot be admitted to the conclave, per Can. 188 §4, which all admit is the retention of Cum ex.. in the Code, (one of many citations, mainly under canons regarding heresy). Matters of faith so intimately connected with discipline are precisely what Rev. Madgett refers to above. Legitimacy of election is inextricably bound up with the grant of Divine jurisdiction, which cannot be bestowed on an unworthy person. This is divine law, and as such is intimately connected to Christ’s bestowal of power, granting infallibility. Destroy this and we have no guarantee that what the pope teaches on faith and morals is free from error. Cum ex… guarantees the faith of the Roman Pontiff; without that faith, we have no Church.

Papal Decrees and their Binding Nature

Infallible and authoritative statements: both are binding

Rev. J. C. Fenton, personally commended by Pope Pius XII, writes in his “Infallibility in the Encyclicals,” (American Ecclesiastical Review, March 1953): “If [the pope’s] supreme power is exercised within the field of dogma itself, that is, by declaring that some particular truth has been revealed by God and is to be accepted by all men as a part of revelation,” Fenton continues, “then the assent called for by the definition is that of divine faith itself. If, on the other hand the Holy Father, using this supreme apostolic authority, does not propose his teaching as a dogma, but merely as completely certain, then the faithful are bound to accept his teaching as absolutely certain. They are, in either case, obliged in conscience to give an unconditional and absolutely irrevocable assent to any proposition defined in this way.” And how is Cum ex… any exception to this rule, even if it is not infallible (which it is)?

Rev. Fenton concludes that the Church can definitely command the faithful to accept its judgments and condemnations with an internal assent, (“Lamentabili sane exitu”). In addressing the statement by others that Canon Law declares that “Nothing is to be understood as declared or defined dogmatically unless this be manifestly certain,” (Can. 1323), a reference made by Hergenrother, Rev. Fenton observes that Catholic scholars accept the unqualified and authoritative judgments or decisions expressed in the encyclicals (and other documents) as absolutely true, not just as morally or practically certain. In way of example, Fenton points to the fact that prior to the issuance of “Mystici Corporis,” Cardinal Ottaviani held as only a probable opinion that bishops receive their jurisdiction directly from the Roman Pontiff. When “Mystici Corporis” was released in 1943, Ottaviani immediately changed his teaching to reflect the definition of Pope Pius XII, that the bishops may exercise their jurisdiction only through the Roman Pontiff.

Rev. Fenton then goes on to explain in the article that teachings of the ordinary magisterium, (as stated in the Vatican Council documents and in Canon Law), are binding even when they are only indirectly addressed to the Church militant and even when they are only secondarily concerned with matters of faith and morals. “In other words, the Holy Father is empowered, not only to obligate the disciples of Jesus Christ to accept, on faith or as certain, statements within the sphere of the Church’s doctrinal competence, but also to impose the duty of accepting other propositions within the same sphere as opinions…Humani Generis reasserts the right of the Roman Pontiff to demand an opinionative assent. When, in his encyclicals or in any other documents or utterances of his doctrinal office, he imposes a teaching upon the members of the universal Church militant with anything less than his suprema magisterii potestas, he is calling for such an opinionative judgment…The theologians of the Catholic Church have always recognized the fact that an intention on the part of the Holy Father is requisite if the faithful are to be bound by the teaching contained in his official Acta. Hitherto, however, there has been too much of a tendency to consider that such an intention would have to be manifested by some sort of formula, as for instance, the use of such terms as ‘define’ or ‘declare.’ The Humani Generis has put an end to this dangerous minimism.” (And Hergenrother dismisses Cum ex… even though it does contain “define and decree.”)

It must be remembered that the teaching of Humani Generis was not extant at the time Hergenrother wrote. This encyclical made it clear that all that was needed for a papal proclamation to bind the faithful was its listing in the Acta Apostolic Sedis. This encyclical also confirmed that infallible teaching could be found even in encyclical letters. Nor had it yet been defined in Hergenrother’s day that the bishops held ordinary authority through Christ but could exercise it only with permission of the Roman Pontiff. In his day Hergenrother was certain that “The doctrine of the power of the bishops needed no definition, being previously doubted by no one,” (p. 32). And yet Henry Cardinal Manning, Hergenrother’s contemporary, had written his work “The Pastoral Office,” very carefully examining, from the best theological minds of the times, the arguments pro bishops as subject to the pope and con as possessing ordinary jurisdiction directly from Christ, with the former winning out even then. But those championing Hergenrother obviously are unaware that he is being less than honest in his writings, or do not care as long as they make their point. Nor do they fear the dangers of minimism, or take into account the many theological developments concerning the frequency of infallible teaching in papal documents. Certainly they do not show any regard for Pope Pius IX’s infallible pronouncement on disciplinary law, which after all only repeats the teaching of the Vatican Council.

Disciplinary decrees are infallible

(From Pope Pius IX’s “Quartus Supra,” On the Church in Armenia, Jan. 6, 1873):

“Definition of a Schismatic

12. But the neo-schismatics say that it was not a case of doctrine but of discipline, so the name and prerogatives of Catholics cannot be denied to those who object. Our Constitution Reversurus, published on July 12, 1867, answers this objection. We do not doubt that you know well how vain and worthless this evasion is. For the Catholic Church has always regarded as schismatic those who obstinately oppose the lawful prelates of the Church and in particular, the chief shepherd of all. Schismatics avoid carrying out their orders and even deny their very rank. Since the faction from Armenia is like this, they are schismatics even if they had not yet been condemned as such by Apostolic authority. For the Church consists of the people in union with the priest, and the flock following its shepherd. Consequently the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and whoever is not with the bishop is not in the Church. Furthermore, as Our predecessor Pius VI warned in his Apostolic letter condemning the civil constitution of the clergy in France, discipline is often closely related to doctrine and has a great influence in preserving its purity. In fact, in many instances, the holy Councils have unhesitatingly cut off from the Church by their anathema those who have infringed its discipline,” (see Madgett’s quote above).

“Authority of the Holy See

13. But the neo-schismatics have gone further, since ‘every schism fabricates a heresy for itself to justify its withdrawal from the Church.’ Indeed they have even accused this Apostolic See as well, as if We had exceeded the limits of Our power in commanding that certain points of discipline were to be observed in the Patriarchate of Armenia. Nor can the Eastern Churches preserve communion and unity of faith with Us without being subject to the Apostolic power in matters of discipline. Teaching of this kind is heretical, and not just since the definition of the power and nature of the papal primacy was determined by the ecumenical Vatican Council: the Catholic Church has always considered it such and abhorred it. Thus the bishops at the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon clearly declared the supreme authority of the Apostolic See in their proceedings; then they humbly requested from Our predecessor St. Leo confirmation and support for their decrees, even those which concerned discipline.”

Three years after writing “Quartus Supra,” we also hear the following from Pope Pius IX, in “Quae in patriarchatu”: “In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema,” (emph. mine – Pope Pius IX, September 1, 1876, to the clergy and faithful of the Chaldean Rite.) Notice that the inclusion of disciplinary laws as infallible is not anything new, but goes back to the very beginnings of the Church. Notice also that anyone who would deny that disciplinary laws ARE infallible is a heretic. So Pope Paul IV’s law did not just become an infallible decree retroactively following the Vatican Council definition; owing to the seriousness of its subject matter especially, it was infallible from the very beginning. Once we examine these Cum ex… quotes below in light of the above, and in relation to the marks required for infallibility, how could anyone possibly claim this bull is not infallible?

Countering Hergenrother’s objections

Let us here address the objections made by Hergenrother. These later will be compared to the council definitions for infallibility, since Hergenrother relies mainly upon “the rules universally received among theologians.” The absolute necessity of adhering first of all to the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs, and secondarily only to the teachings of those theologians in agreement with them, cannot be emphasized enough.

First, Hergenrother says that because the use of the Apostolic power is referred to only in the introduction, it is not to be counted as applying to the whole document, but this is not true. This power is referred to in the numbered paragraphs (two and three), whereas the preamble is not numbered. In paragraph three this power is stated emphatically and the purpose of the Bull made immediately clear in the same paragraph. He objects that the bull is modeled on civil law and has only to do with penal law, taking the meaning of Paul IV’s work entirely out of context. This is true especially since, as Henry Cardinal Manning points out in his work on civil allegiance, those censures levied for the civil authorities can apply only if these authorities are subject to the pope. Concerning the reinstatement of all previous censures, Paul IV had to lay the foundation for his later teaching in paragraph six of the bull by first renewing all past censures, for only then could he proceed to the meat of the matter. Having done this he demonstrated why it was necessary to renew the censures, applying them not only to bishops and cardinals but even one appearing to be a validly elected pope.

Second, despite clear evidence of a definition, Hergenrother denies that one has been made because, “Other papal disciplinary laws have been issued out of the ‘fullness of power,’ and the word ‘define’ is used in other places also of judicial judgments.” This statement indicates that not only is he eliminating Cum ex… as an infallible decree, he is not admitting the possible infallibility of any disciplinary laws here. He does not address the binding of the bull with an oath, stating only that Paul IV’s mention of it as remaining valid in perpetuity does not mean that other bulls and laws containing this same clause were not later repealed. This is true, as circumstances can change in the Church. But rather than being repealed, practically the entirety of Pope Paul IV’s law has been enshrined in the 1917 Code of Canon Law, something Hergenrother did not live to see. It should be noted that the infallibility of disciplinary laws is a teaching most hated by the Gallicanists and Modernists, whose contempt for authority is addressed by Pope Pius VI in Auctorem Fidei and Pope St. Pius X in his condemnations of Modernism.

Thirdly, concerning whether the bull contained a definition of some matter that until then was not decided, Hergenrother wrote: “The question was not about controversies, but about articles of faith settled long ago by the Church.” Here Hergenrother appears to be entirely oblivious to the circumstances of the bull and to the very import of the definitions just advanced by the Vatican Council. We know that the entire purpose of the Council was to teach that the pope could NEVER lose his faith and decide wrongly on a matter concerning faith, morals (or discipline); this because he is guided by the Holy Ghost.  Christ prayed for Peter that his faith never fail, and Christ’s prayers, St. Thomas Aquinas teaches in his Catechism of the Summa, are always heard. The controversy of whether a pope could fall into heresy as a pope continued through the 20th century, but after the Vatican Council it could only be considered in the context of a pope falling into such heresy as a private person. In that case, as Pope Paul IV taught in 1559, he could be corrected, as was John XXII, who then graciously retracted his error, (although what he denied was not yet a dogma defined as revealed). Theologians kept treating this subject without qualifying it in the 1900s, so that by the time the question arose in earnest concerning the last six antipopes, Traditionalists were no longer sufficiently familiar with the fact that it could apply only to the pope as a private person. Thus the Gallicanist teaching reared its head again about deposing popes, and the race was on. Those buying the Hergenrother argument are using it to point fingers at sedevacantists and stay-at-home Catholics, saying that Cum ex… is no longer viable and cannot be invoked. But if they deny there was any definition, isn’t that a clear indication that they never even understood why the bull was written, and what it set out to address?

Traditionalists have gone all out lately to refute Cum ex… and with it the teaching of the Vatican Council, to which it is so closely related. First they present Hergenrother’s arguments. Then the following was cited not long ago by a member of the St. Pius X Society on the Society’s discussion forum:  “Pope Adrian VI († 1523) stated that ‘it is beyond question” that a pope can ‘err in matters touching the Faith, he can “teach heresy” in decrees. He also stated ‘many Roman Pontiffs were heretics…If by the Roman Church you mean its head or pontiff, it is beyond question that he can err even in matters touching the faith. He does this when he teaches heresy by his own judgement or decretal. In truth, many Roman pontiffs were heretics. The last of them was Pope John XXII († 1334).’ (Quaest. in IV Sent.; quoted in Viollet, Papal Infallibility and the Syllabus, 1908). (According to the 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia, this work was published in 1512 from the notes of his student and without his supervision, but as it saw “many editions” it would appear that the pope did not repudiate the passage as not his own, in a work attributed to him.)

This is presented as though it is a direct contradiction of the Vatican Council’s definition of infallibility. But notice the highlighted phrase above. This is exactly what the Vatican Council fathers decided after long debate; a pope can err as a private doctor but never in his official capacity, i.e., ex cathedra, when teaching all the faithful on faith and morals; Henry Cardinal Manning explains this in his history of the Vatican Council.  “His own judgment or decretal” means speaking as a private person, for nowhere does he indicate in this passage that such heresy was ever promulgated publicly. All this was examined and discussed at the Vatican Council before the definition was ever rendered, as Cuthbert Butler’s “The Vatican Council” history reveals. And certainly there is no question that what Pope Adrian said above is binding; no source is quoted for this quote in way of a papal pronouncement of any sort. Of course it is true, unless the pope was somehow mistaken as to the extent of the problem; but otherwise we have no reason to doubt him.

The definition in this bull was not only the answer to the question “Can a pope become a heretic?” It also was an important precursor to the Vatican Council definition itself, a sort of reverse mirror image of infallibility as it was later defined. The Council worked hard to prove that never had a pope been guilty of heresy in his public capacity. Pope Paul IV taught that should it ever appear that a pope was a public heretic there was a logical solution; it happened before the election, invalidating the election. After his bull was published, it seems even those popes erring as private doctors could be considered able to be removed if they did not recant. So if Paul IV did not teach “anything” in this bull, as its critics claim, then why can’t we find any mention of this subject elsewhere? After all it was not a new idea; already St. Bernard, a Doctor of the Church who died in the 1100s, had condemned the antipope Anacletus II with these words: “Behold Innocent [II], the Christ…for they that are of God willingly adhere to him, whilst opposed to him stand Antichrist and his followers. We have seen the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place…He persecutes Innocent and with him all innocence,” (“Life and Teaching of St. Bernard,” Ailbe J. Luddy, O Cist., Gill and Son, 1950). Pope Pius IX knew the contents of the Secret of La Salette, even though it had not yet been released to the people. Melanie had also received a message from Our Lady intended only for the pope, and while writing down that message had asked how to spell infallibility. Shortly after that the council preparations began. Our Lady knew the fierce attack that would be launched against the papacy. Her prediction to Melanie — that Rome would lose the faith and become the seat of Antichrist — is nothing more than we already knew to be an eventuality from the hand of Pope Paul IV. But God blinded many to the truth because they did not love it or wish to know it; they did not want to live in the latter days.

A fourth point Hergenrother makes is that “like other disciplinary laws of former times, [the bull In Coenae Domine and by inference Cum ex… has] altogether lost its binding force.” (Please see the article: “Cum ex: Infallible and Retained in the Code,” also “How Cum ex Is Retained in the Code,” on this website.) The Bull of Pope Paul IV, as well as that of Pope St. Pius V’s Quo Primum, is further protected from any sort of abrogation by virtue of its makeup. according to Rev. Nicholas J. Neuberger, (Canon 6: The Relation of the Codex Juris Canonici to Preceding Legislation, Catholic University of America, 1927). Rev. Neuberger comments on the phrase “hac immutabili et in perpetuum valitura constitution” (roughly translated, “our constitution is to remain unchanged in perpetuity,”) found in various papal documents. He states that while such a phrase does not curtail the power nor invalidate future acts of a (legitimate) successor of the Roman Pontiff, nevertheless “the legislator attaches an especial juridical sanction to laws which have such a clause appended. Pihring advances the theory that the laws of general councils are not abolished unless a derogatory clause is annexed next to the posterior enactment…” and, in addition, if a prior law is bound up with an actual ‘oath’ which reads into it immunity from abrogation, the law is not countermanded unless express mention is made to that effect. The reasons for this assertion are that the legislator is mindful of a law which has an oath attached and hence abrogation would be invalid.”

This tells us that the oath attached to Cum Ex…, Quo Primum, Execrabilis, the constitution of Pope Benedict XV promulgating Canon Law, also the election laws of both Pope St. Pius X and Pope Pius XII, guarantees these laws immune from abrogation, as their legislators obviously intended. The oath for all these laws reads in Cum ex… : “No one at all, therefore, may infringe this document of our approbation, reintroduction, sanction, statute and derogation of wills and decrees, or by rash presumption contradict it. If anyone, however, should presume to attempt this, let him know that he is destined to incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul.” The oath reads more or less the same for the other documents. Now if one were to ask Traditionalists if this oath unquestionably prevented Quo Primum from being abrogated, the collective exhale would be “Most certainly!” Yet claim the same status for Cum ex Apostolatus Officio and quite a different response is received. That the last phrase of this bull contains the oath should alert the reader that it refers to the entire bull, not just certain parts. If Hergenrother and his present fans wish to incur the wrath of Sts. Peter and Paul in order to continue justifying their use of spurious clergy, then they can explain this to St. Peter when he meets them at the pearly gates.

Commenting on Canon 6, Revs. Woywod and Smith relate in their commentary on the Code: “In reference to the former Canon Law the Code states that, as a rule, the old discipline is retained…The student of Canon Law must keep in mind the rules of Can. 6 throughout the whole course of study of the Code, for these rules are the key to the correct interpretation of all the laws of the Code.” Can. 6, no. 5 reads: “All former ecclesiastical penalties of which no mention is made in the Code are abolished.” The Latin version of the Code definitely lists Cum ex… in its footnotes, also recorded by Peter Cardinal Gasparri in his Fontes (sources). This is true not only for Can. 188§4 but also for several other Canons dealing with heresy, (Codex Iuris Canonici, Peter Cardinal Gasparri, Newman Press, 1957.) The Code lists Cum ex… as a source not only for Can. 188§4, but also for Canons 167§3, 2200, 2264, 2314, 2316 and 2317, and there may be others, (actual copies of this listing are available upon request). Rev. Cicognani comments: “Under the canons are placed footnotes or notes…first from the ‘Codicis Iuris Canonici,’ the Constitutions of Popes, from the Sacred Congregations, and from Liturgical Books…In the Code there are nearly 26,000 citations of the old law. Of these, 8,400 are from Gratian’s Decretum; about 1,200 from Ecumenical Councils; about 4,000 from Papal Constitutions; about 11,200 from the Sacred Congregations and 800 from liturgical Books. Rev. Neuberger comments that fewer fontes are provided for the penal laws, making the mention of Cum ex… more auspicious. Other Canons concerning the interpretation of the law must also be followed to determine the history behind Cum ex.

History of Cum ex…

As Canon Law instructs us to do, in doubt of the meaning or extent of any law we must look at the mind of the lawgiver, the circumstances and the purpose of the law, (Can. 18). The meaning of the words also must be considered. I have done my best to document the circumstances on my site and one other writer also presented the history of the bull. Once the circumstances are known, the intent of the law becomes clear, as does the purpose of the law. Rabid Protestants were running amok when Pope Paul IV reigned, denying papal power and even considering the popes a perpetual line of antichrists. Scripture was being falsified, as Paul IV notes in the preamble of his bull. The Great Apostasy had begun, and the Inquisition with it. Few recognize the significance of Paul IV’s use of Scripture in paragraph one of his bull; probably because they are so certain that this decree has become an irrelevant artifact. But what he says not only defines this phrase of Scripture — a rare event throughout the papacy — it also addresses and settles a controversy that rages yet today, the very controversy that relates to the “falsifying of Scripture” that Pope Paul IV referred to in his preamble. For the abomination is none other than the Antichrist; and Paul IV is essentially saying that the Antichrist would appear to be a pope, but he would instead be a rank usurper. The very meaning of Antichrist in the Catholic Encyclopedia is “A king who reigns during an interregnum,” a man reigning as a Pontifex Maximus of old rather than a true Catholic Pontiff. And a pope defining a phrase of Holy Scripture is definitely an infallible act; Scripture is revealed truth.

Now is this becoming clearer? The Protestants were saying the popes validly elected could lose the faith and become Antichrist; Pope Paul IV was saying no, this could only happen if such a man were never validly elected. And he had good reason for thinking along these lines. Pope Paul IV suspected one of his cardinals, Giovanni Morone, of heresy, for reading forbidden books and associating with Lutheran ministers, among other things, and this prompted him to write Cum ex. Many believed Morone innocent, but Paul IV had him arrested and tried for heresy. The trial lasted for two long years. During that time, Pope Paul IV published two bulls; one on “engaging in intrigues to reach the pontificate” (Artaud de Montor, “Lives and Times of the Popes,”) on Dec. 16, 1558 and the other only two months later  — Cum ex Apsotolatus Officio. De Montor tells us that St. Charles Borromeo so strongly approved of the 1558 bull that he “absolutely declined to talk about the future pope.”

The first bull was most likely written after Paul IV realized his health was failing, for he died the same year Cum ex…was written. Seeing that sympathy was mounting for Morone and support gathering for his exoneration and future election; knowing he would be a likely candidate, the pope took the appropriate precautions. (This provision can still be found today, reflected in Pope Pius XII’s papal election constitution Vacantis Apostolica Sedis.) When no verdict came in Morone’s trial, the pope realized there, too, the dangers it would pose to the Church should a man not cleared of heresy be elected. When Paul IV died, Morone, still a prisoner, was released to attend the conclave. At first he was one of three frontrunners, but ran full force into Cardinal Ghislieri, the future Pope St. Pius V. Of all people, Hergenrother is reported to have written, in his “The History of the Popes,” that Morone’s campaign was quashed by the intervention of Cardinal Ghislieri, who pointedly remarked that Morone’s election would be invalid owing to the question mark hanging over his orthodoxy.

Now something is very wrong here. Apparently, Hergenrother was well aware of the situation concerning Morone and what prompted it. He either knew or should have known the seriousness of the situation or at least appreciated the fact that Pope Paul IV, whether justified in his eyes or not, saw Morone’s election as a grave threat to the welfare of the Church. Considering the tone of his work on the Christian State, perhaps he felt that Paul IV was too strict and was unpopular for this very reason.  If this was truly the case, and Paul IV was wrong about Morone and too censorious of the clergy, why does the historian Hughes, who had little good to say of him, praise him for beginning what he describes as an almost impossible and very much needed reform of the clergy? And more to the point, why does no one mention the fact that when Cardinal Ghislieri became Pope St. Pius V, not only did he fail to undo the “damage” Pope Paul IV had wrought, but soon after his election he issued the bull “Intermultiplices,” solemnly renewing and confirming Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. If this great saint really believed Pope Paul IV had been remiss in any way in writing Cum ex, or in suspecting Morone, why would he have made this one of the first acts of his papacy? Doesn’t this in itself prove the bull was infallible? Cum ex Apostolatus Officio was both a prophecy and a warning. Its meaning apparently escaped even the very learned, such as Hergenrother was styled to be. But despite its archaic phraseology, the bull is clear on these facts:

1) The pope is taking measures to prevent a heretic from usurping the Chair of Peter, an event he describes as the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place (para. 1); 2) Therefore he renews all censures for all heresies ever in existence “to trap the foxes busily ravaging the Lord’s vineyard,” (para. 1);

3) He then very carefully explains how this could happen to various persons, leading up to paragraph six, and precisely what the results of such a catastrophe would be;

4) It is clear from his explanation that in order for these censures to apply to a “pope” (para. 6), such a man would needed to have committed heresy BEFORE his election, invalidating said election, or at least be suspected of doing so (“before they deviated from the faith), became heretics, incurred schism or permitted or encouraged any of these.” This is why even those suspect of heresy (“deviated”) are not qualified as candidates for election, for Cum ex.. is one of the fontes for Can. 2200, which presumes those suspect of heresy guilty until proven innocent.

5) The fact that such an “election” would indeed be invalidated is clearly laid out: even if enthroned and pledged obedience, none of these false popes’ deeds or acts shall have any force; no passage of time shall validate them and they cannot be considered even quasi-legitimate; persons promoted by the one elected will be deprived ipso facto of any dignity, office, honor title and this is to have effect “without exception.”

It is important to pause for a moment here and ask ourselves: was the truth that Cum ex… taught one revealed by God to be accepted by all men as a part of His message? Isn’t the message that Cum ex… really conveys the same as that of the Vatican Council — that Christ’s promise that Peter’s faith will never fail prevents anyone capable of committing heresy in the papal office from having ever ascended to that office validly? The bull says “Should it ever become clear…” that this is the case. Well how else would it become clear that an apparent pope was not validly elected unless his errors somehow became manifest in the course of his teaching, or his heresy, which up to that time would have remained occult, became public knowledge? Paragraph six of this bull deals indirectly with the fact that when a pope is elected, it is assumed that he receives Divine jurisdiction from Christ and assistance from the Holy Ghost to preserve him from error. It assumes he becomes Christ’s Vicar and acts in His stead. How could a law that defines what is a violation of Divine law itself not be intimately bound up with that law? How can this bull, which safeguards Christ’s promise to St. Peter, not be infallible, especially when its premise is based on an interpretation of Holy Scripture?

Cum ex… never taught and could not teach that a man validly elected to the papacy could ever “become” a heretic. The bull notably presumes that should it ever appear to happen that such a man was elected, the election is invalid and he is a usurper. The deviation from faith alone proves they were never fit for the office, for why else would the promotion to office be declared null and void from the beginning? As St. Robert Bellarmine taught, one cannot become the head of an organization when one is not even a member. Pope Pius XII’s papal election law provides that those deposed under Can. 188 no. 4 are not eligible to participate in the conclave. In Church history, Councils have declared clerics deprived of their offices only when they were created by antipopes or those in obedience to them. Cum ex… is the document that set the tenor for all future papal elections concerning even a suspicion of heresy. Only a Roman Pontiff legitimately elected can obtain Divine jurisdiction, (Canons 109 and 219). In a doubt of law, the old law applies. Cum ex … is the old law governing heresy, apostasy and schism, listed in the fontes of Canon Law for these crimes.  It is a law that was waiting for its true fulfillment and application when the Great Apostasy would come to a close, in this our own day and time. That the bull does fit all the requirements for an infallible decree of the extraordinary magisterium, given the solemnity of a bull, is demonstrated below.

Cum ex… per the marks of infallibility defined by the Vatican Council

DZ 1839: The Pope is infallible when:

(A) He speaks in his capacity as the ruler and teacher of all Christians.

The Roman Pontiff, who is Vicar of God and of Jesus Christ on earth, holds fullness of power over peoples and kingdoms…We wish, as much as possible with God’s help, in line with our pastoral duty, to trap the foxes that are busily ravaging the Lord’s vineyard and to drive the wolves from the sheepfolds…lest we come to an evil end like the husbandman…” (para.1). (Pastors teach, among other things – Ed.)

(B) He uses his supreme apostolic authority.

“Now therefore, having thoroughly discussed these matters with Our venerable brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, upon their advice and with their unanimous consent, We approve and renew, by Our Apostolic authority, each and every sentence, censure or penalty of excommunication, suspension and interdict, and removal, and any others whatever in any way given and promulgated against heretics and schismatics by any Roman Pontiffs Our Predecessors…” (para. 2).

“Through this Our Constitution, which is to remain forever effective, in hatred of such a crime the greatest and deadliest that can exist in God’s Church, We sanction, establish, decree and define, through the fullness of Our Apostolic power, that although the aforesaid sentences, censures and penalties keep their force and efficacy and obtain their effect…(all these persons) are also automatically and without any recourse to law or action, completely and entirely, forever deprived of, and furthermore disqualified from and incapacitated for their rank…” (para. 3).

(C) The doctrine on which he is speaking has to do with faith and/or morals.

“We must see attentively to driving away from Christ’s fold those who, in Our time more consciously and balefully than usual, driven by malice and trusting in their own wisdom, rebel against the rule of right Faith,” (para. 1).

(D) He issues a certain and definitive judgment on that teaching.

“The Roman Pontiff, who…judges all, but can be judged by no one in this world — (even he) may be corrected if he is apprehended straying from the Faith,

(para. 1).

“If ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop, even one conducting himself As… a Roman Pontiff, [who] before his promotion or elevation as a Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has strayed from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy, or has incurred schism, then his promotion or elevation shall be null, invalid and void,” (para. 7).

 (E) He wills that this definitive judgment be accepted as such by the universal Church.

“No one at all, therefore, may infringe this document of our approbation, reintroduction, sanction, statute and derogation of wills and decrees, or by rash presumption contradict it. If anyone, however, should presume to attempt this, let him know that he is destined to incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul,” (para. 7)

Who is the Head of the Catholic Church?

The Head of the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ. Yes the Pope is the visible head of the Church; but Christ is the eternal Head of His Mystical Body. The Mystical Body continues to exist with Christ as its Head and the faithful as its members and will continue to exist until the consummation. The pope is only the visible symbol Christ uses to represent this reality. Christ who placed Peter as head of the Church can certainly withdraw him as its head if He chooses. But this does not destroy the Church that Christ Himself founded and keeps in existence; for He founded it before Peter officially became pope (following the Resurrection). This is the desert(ed) existence that St. John refers to in Apocalypse 12; we have been deserted by the hierarchy as well as our brethren and God has carried us into the desert on the wings of the Holy Ghost, (great eagle), there to speak to us “face to face.” We don’t believe only “homealoners” will be saved; we believe that God knows His own and will take care of them. I do believe that those who have access to the truths of faith and fail to study them, then publicly renounce their errors and do penance are in grave peril of losing their souls. Especially in danger are those who go so far as encouraging others to return to the stench of the vomit-filled anti-church in Rome; “dragging others with them to perdition.”  It is as St. Paul tells us in Holy Scripture: those who do not sufficiently love the truth will be given the operation of error, to believe lies.

Dearest Jesus, please send to us a true Pope!

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