Please see the repost of “Who May Interpret Canon Law?” under the Canon Law section. Also there is the post of a translation into English of Pope Pius XII’s 1945 election Constitution “Vacantis Apostolica Sedis” under this same section, since it is listed among the Canon Laws. It might be of interest for some with the upcoming “conclave” looming to elect the next antipope in Rome.
In the last post I mentioned the vicious circle, the circle of errors created by Trad groups to keep their followers circling haplessly around their leaders. While it may appear that the circle is closed and complete there is ever so tiny a gap left open for the final closing of the circle — after the heading of Traditionalists into the Novus Ordo church following decades of doctrinal dilution and coercive persuasion. All it would take is a new “pope” who would appear willing to reach out to Trads and enfold them in a revised but acceptable version of “one flock” by allowing them the freedom to practice their “faith” alongside their Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and Novus Ordo (NO) brethren. Their Trad clerics would declare the crisis over, the Church restored, and all the obedient little minions would follow them into the NO, willy-nilly.
While from the outside it appears that the gulf between the NO and Trads is too wide to bridge, it is not as wide as some might think. After all, SSPXers already are in dialogue with the Vatican to work out a deal that would allow them such status. Open the door a little wider and this could easily include other Traditionalists. To date, many Traditionalist clerics have quietly made concessions to “conservative” NO clergy and sympathetic laity, and after all have not excluded those clergy serving under John 23 as “valid and licit.” This would put them in a bad position, as some of their “old priests” claim to have received orders from Novus Ordo bishops, (but not jurisdiction). Nor have they excluded from their clerical pool those who at one time said the new mass, associated with the schismatic Orthodox, or trucked with the Old Catholics. In fact Traditionalist clerical lineages sport an admixture of all these groups.
There are those currently holding that a conclave could actually produce a true pope who would be acceptable to Trads, even after all these decades of electing false popes. A book called “Toward Vatican III” (Tracy, Kung and Metz, 1978) even suggests such a “reunion,” which they call “liturgical pluralism…the right to have one’s particular perspective respected as a part of the larger common good.” Call it plain old Modernism, for this was also the teaching of the Modernists, that on the democratic model, the faithful should have whatever they want. It is the equivalent of pretending that the royal bloodline of a mythical kingdom could actually be maintained even though intermingled with that of commoners from another continent who have no relation whatsoever to the monarchy. It must be remembered that the Church is a Divine monarchy, and Her lineage cannot be polluted in any way and remain the one established by Jesus Christ. It can be a different lineage, a different church, but not the CATHOLIC Church Christ founded on earth. Those presently called cardinals in the church that has taken over Rome long ago forfeited that lineage by embracing a false religion. They are not Catholic and cannot elect a Catholic from among themselves as pope. As theologians explain, common ignorance of who the Church is, what She teaches and how She retains Her Divine character simply cannot be mistaken for common error. Error is mistaken knowledge about a law or fact; ignorance is an absolute lack of knowledge in a given case.
The lack of knowledge concerning apostolicity and the necessity of a canonical election in order to assure papal validity will not suffice to qualify the man elected as a true pope by some nefarious twisting of the law, or an inane plea to the material/formal fantasy. For “Martin V’s Constitution Inter Cunctos decrees that those who return from heresy to the faith shall be asked, among other points, ‘Whether they believe that the Pope canonically elected, for the time being, his name being expressly mentioned, is the successor of St. Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God.’ For thereby he supposes it to be an article of faith, since those who abjure heresy are ‘interrogated only as to truths of faith,’” (“Dr. Littledale’s Theory of the Disappearance of the Papacy” by Sydney F. Smith, S. J., Farm Street, Berkeley Square, W. London, 1896). The current canons governing such an election include Pope Pius XII’s election law, mentioned above. It also includes the general laws of the Church on elections and Can. 147, which the canonists Revs. Bosucaren and Ellis say applies also to the papacy. These laws state that a man cannot be validly elected or appointed if he is a heretic or schismatic, and unless the competent authority (electoral body) performs such an act in accordance with the canons. The Catholic Encyclopedia confirms this under the topic “elections.”
To deny that to ensure validity, such an election must be held in accordance with the canons and current election law is heresy, yet there are Traditionalist clerics openly supporting this idea. The necessity of adhering to Canon Law in such cases is a good demonstration of how important canon law truly is, and the need for Catholics to know what it teaches. Of course the false V2 church has fashioned its own revised code of law and the usurpers have issued their own election laws, but where in the history of the Church can it be shown that the laws of antipopes ever governed the Church?!! Pope Pius XII was the last true pope and if we wish to affiliate ourselves with THAT Church, we must abide by the laws in place at that time and the election constitution he promulgated. Pius XII’s law allows for those other than cardinals to elect in necessity (bishops and senior clergy), but such would not enjoy the dispensations from excommunication granted to cardinals. So the idea that there could ever be a true pope elected from Rome by non-Catholics is not just ludicrous; it is heresy. And unfortunately those promoting such ideas are most likely culpably ignorant of Church law and teaching.
In all likelihood, a liberal will be elected in Rome to guide that church into the New World religion. But to do this they need as little opposition as possible, and attracting Trads would eliminate the opposition. Trads all-consuming desire for Mass and Sacraments, the aging population of its “priests,” the influx of young Trad couples who scarcely know their faith, the arrival of new “priests” who are also woefully lacking in knowledge concerning theology and Canon Law, the steady loss of baby boomer Traditionalists, who at least treasure some remembrance of what the true Church was and were better schooled in Her teachings — all this will contribute to the return of Trads to the NO. They have that organized religion thing going and cannot bear to think of doing without it. The idea of a restoration has already been instilled in their minds, forget the fact that apostolicity never figured into the picture. And barring the above scenario, they will eventually do what they have been discussing for years: elect one of their own as “pope.” But regardless what plan of action they choose, they will only have what Monsignor G. Van Noort describes in his “The Church of Christ” below.
“Christ conferred the government of His Church on the apostles collectively, or insofar as the apostles formed a kind of college under Peter as head. In other words, none of the apostles shared in the sacred power of governing the universal Church except as a member of the Petrine, apostolic college. If that held true for the apostles themselves, it holds true all the more obviously for the apostles’ successors. How could a man belong to the college of the successors of the apostles unless he were united to the head of the college and acknowledged by him as belonging to it? A man could hardly be a cabinet member if the president refused to accept him. Any man, then, who boasts of apostolic succession but is not united to the Roman pontiff, may indeed actually possess the power of orders; he may even by purely physical succession occupy a chair formerly occupied by an apostle — at least he could do so, but he would not be a genuine successor of the apostles in their pastoral office. He would be a usurper.
“Just for the sake of argument…let us conjure up some church which would bear a merely specific likeness to Christ’s Church; a church which would be like it in all respects except numerical identity. Imagine, now, that the Church planted by the apostles has perished utterly. Imagine whether you make it the year 600, 1500, or 3000 — that all its members have deserted. Imagine, furthermore, that out of this totally crumpled society a fresh and vigorous society springs up and then, after a time, is remodeled perfectly to meet the blueprints of the ancient but now perished apostolic structure. Such a process would never yield a church that was genuinely apostolic, that is, numerically one and the same society which actually existed under the apostles’ personal rule. There would be a brand new society, studiously copied from a model long since extinct. The new church might be a decent imitation. It might be a caricature. One thing it definitely would not be is apostolic,” (emphasis added).
Sad thing is, Traditionalists still pass as Catholic even though they bear little resemblance to the true Church of Christ, save for the external show they present. Not only do they lack a true pope, but also apostolicity, the Catholic Encyclopedia teaches, is not just about successors of the Apostles: it is about the doctrines they taught. And Traditionalists do not observe the doctrines of the Church because it interferes with their pathological need for the Sacraments. So those watching from afar should not be surprised should the trek back to Rome begin or Traditionalists move to solidify their position by staging a “papal” election. Either way, they lose.
You can call an ass a racehorse, but that won’t make it so.