+Pope St. Anicetus+

What was said in our last blog — that as all theologians teaching before the death of Pope Pius XII unanimously taught — matters regarding the validity of the Sacraments and eternal salvation do not fall under the category of doubtful laws. This is because “A doubtful law has no binding force whenever the doubt concerns the lawfulness of an act and not its validity” (Rev. Dominic Prummer) and  “…The common good demands certitude concerning the validity of acts,” (Abp. Amleto Cicognani). When the doubt concerns something which is absolutely necessary for salvation, (for example, the necessity of obedience to the Roman Pontiff), then a probable opinion (probability) cannot be relied upon to determine validity. One must know the man elected is a certainly valid pope before rendering obedience. That it is the validity of the one elected and not lawfulness per se is proven in the following from Fr. E. Sylvester Berry in his The Church of Christ.

  • “If the Church could fail in any of its essentials, even for a time, it would lose all authority to teach and govern, because the faithful could never be certain at any time that it had not failed — that it had not ceased to be the Church of Christ, thereby losing all authority. But an authority that may be justly doubted at all times is no authority; it commands neither obedience or respect…” (p. 55-56) “Jurisdiction can be conferred only by a lawful superior…and may be revoked at any time. [It] can neither be obtained nor held against the will of her supreme authority; its transmission depends entirely on legitimate succession…” And on p.  402: “When there is a prudent doubt about the validity of an election to any official position, there is also a similar doubt whether the person so elected really has authority or not. In such a case, no one is bound to obey him, for it is an axiom that a doubtful law [the duty to obey one doubted to be a true pope] begets no obligation — a doubtful law does not oblige. But a superior whom no one is bound to obey is, in reality, no superior at all. Hence the saying of Bellarmine: a doubtful pope is no pope.”
  • “A doubtful pope may be really invested with the requisite power, but he has not practically in the Church the same right as a certain pope — he is not entitled to be acknowledged as Head of the Church, and may be legitimately compelled to desist from his claim,” (The Relations of the Church to Society — Theological Essays, Rev. Edmund James O’Reilly, S.J.). The statement regarding desisting from his claim can only be a reference to Pope Paul IV’s bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio.
  • This teaching is reflected in the opinions of six different notable theologians (Reiffenstuel, Schmalzgrueber, Ferraris, Vecchiotti, Vermeersch-Creusen), satisfying 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.). Still, no positive doubts regarding the validity of a papal election can be entertained without presenting at least oneserious and compelling reason for such doubts. Below are listed seven areas of doubt regarding the election of Angelo Roncalli, John 23rd, following the death of Pope Pius XII, and not all doubts may have been covered in this list.

 Questions regarding John 23rd’s election

  1. Were the electors of John 23rd competent to elect? (Because they were not acting in harmony with the sacred canons and in retrospect were doubtful Catholics they were not competent electors according to Can. 147, Pope Pius XII’s Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS). Their heresy may have been occult at the time but was later unquestionably manifested during the false Vatican 2 council.)
  2. Did a two-thirds plus one majority elect? (This majority is necessary for validity per VAS and cannot be omitted without voiding the election.)
  3. Was the one elected certainly a member of the Catholic Church on election? (The one elected must certainly be a Catholic for validity according to the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine. Roncalli’s Communist and liberal leanings, also his liturgical renewal sympathies and Masonic affiliations pose grave doubts regarding his Catholicity.)
  4. Was the one elected qualified for election under VAS? (Grave doubts exist as to whether the candidate was able to be elected because he campaigned for election prior to the death of Pius XII and was subject to excommunication reserved to a future pope. Many reports also suggest there was lay interference during the conclave, forbidden by VAS.)
  5. “The Pope, having full authority in the government of the Church, may establish laws which would render a papal election null and void unless the prescribed conditions be fulfilled. It is true the laws made by one pope do not bind his successors, but they can and do bind the one to be elected” (Berry, p. 399). See also https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/free-content/reference-links/1-what-constitutes-the-papacy/apostolic-constitution-vacantis-apostolicae-sedis/.
  6. Were those who accepted Roncalli’s election truly Catholic? Certainly by 1969 it was clear who was and who was not siding with the Novus Ordo church. No claim can be made that an election is validated by the acceptance of the faithful if those accepting are not faithful CATHOLICS, uncontested members of Christ’s Mystical Body. Most of the bishops were no longer Catholic as proven at Vatican 2; many of the faithful were certainly not Catholic after John 23rd’s election, either, because the majority accepted Vatican 2 and the new mass. And those who exited the Vatican 2 church following Paul 6’s promulgation of the NOM certainly can be said to have doubts regarding the authority demanding such a promulgation or they would never have left.
  7. In Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, Pope Paul IV teaches in paragraph seven: “It shall be lawful for all and sundry who would have been subject to persons so promoted and elevated, had these not first strayed from the Faith or been heretics, or incurred or incited or committed schism; for clerics, secular or regular, and for laymen; likewise for Cardinals, even for those who participated in the election of one straying from the Faith, or of a heretic or schismatic to the Papacy, or who otherwise presented and pledged him obedience and paid him homage… to depart with impunity at any time from obedience and allegiance to said promoted and elevated persons and to shun them as sorcerers, heathens, publicans, and heresiarchs… Nor shall they be liable to reprisal through any censure or penalty, as renders of the Lord’s robe, for departing…

 John 23rd’s papacy was short, just a little over four and a half years. Not many major changes were made, and the average Catholic had little reason for alarm. But when the false Vatican council ended in 1965, the rites of the Sacraments were changed in 1968 and the Novus Ordo Missae issued in 1969, true Catholics realized something was very wrong and began exiting the Church. Some estimate up to 40 percent of all Catholics left at that time, but most of them remained only nominally Catholic. The rest affiliated with the Traditionalist movements, which wasted no time in organizing. Had it not been for the questionable character of John 23, and proofs which emerged only much later that his election was not held according to Pope Pius XII’s election constitution Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS), we might be able to say he was validly elected. Knowing today that he was only a “transition pope,” something said at the time he was elected but not fully understood, in and of itself suggests that a plan was in place to elect not only Roncalli, but a specific person after his reign ended. This alone voided Montini’s election, since it was a second prearranged plan in violation of VAS.

From Rev. Francis Connell we read: “What certainty have we that the reigning Pontiff is actually the primate of the universal Church – that is, that he became a member of the Church through valid baptism, and that he was validly elected Pope? We have human moral certainty that the reigning Pontiff was validly elected in conclave and accepted the office of Bishop of Rome, thus becoming head of the universal Church. The unanimous consensus of a large group of Cardinals composing the electoral body gave us this assurance… For if we did not have infallible assurance that the ruling Pontiff is truly in the eyes of God the chief teacher of the Church of Christ, how could we accept as infallibly true his solemn pronouncements?” This is but an echo of Fr. Berry above, who provides the answer. Louis Cardinal Billot, Rev. Charles Journet and others are of the same opinion as Connell, agreeing the acceptance of the Church cures defects in election.

But they are presuming that the man elected was indeed a Catholic, when this fact cannot be certainly known given the evidence of Cardinal Roncalli’s activities and statements pre-election. They also are assuming there was no question that the cardinals electing were Catholic. The papal bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, retained in the 1917 Code of Canon Law, declares that any man who was a heretic, apostate or schismatic prior to his election as pope, or appointment as a cardinal or bishop, never assumes the position in question and has no power to command whatsoever. The pope cannot become a heretic as pope: this must occur before his election. But cardinals and bishops can definitely become heretics and schismatics while seeming to retain their positions, as later happened following Vatican 2. Paul IV’s bull gives Catholics, even cardinals and bishops, time to figure out a man falsely elected was never pope without incurring censure. But the liturgical renewal crowd who happily accepted John 23rd’s election still accepted him and Paul 6 as undoubted popes even after Vatican 2 and the introduction of the NOM. This despite the doubts raised by Traditionalists regarding their Catholicity. So in the end, were those who accepted these two men as “popes” even Catholic themselves?

Those cardinals electing John 23 are condemned by the words of Pope Pius XII as follows, “We command those individuals to whom it pertains and will pertain for the time being to vote, that the ordinances must be respectively and inviolably observed by them, and if anyone should happen to try otherwise relative to these things, by whatever authority, knowingly or unknowingly, the attempt is null and void.” Yet despite this the cardinals elected a man many of them knew to be unworthy, a man who promoted his own election contrary to Pope Pius XII’s specific ordinance and therefore was not capable of being elected according to the law. Numerous examples of Roncalli’s and Montini’s dalliances with socialism and Communism, also Freemasonry, are documented in the book The Phantom Church in Rome, available on this website. The statements they made pre-election as well as their actions both before and after their “elections” would create grave doubt even among the simplest of Catholics. And that is just one doubt, which is all that is needed to call an election into question.

Summary of doubts about John 23rd’s election

  1. Roncalli’s own heresy and Masonic affiliations, which amount to apostasy
  2. His violation of the provisions of Vacantis Apostolica Sedis, which subsequently voided the election, consisting in:a) allowing himself to be promoted for election prior to the death of Pius XII; b) agreeing to act as a “transition pope” to usher in the false Vatican 2 Council and c) in order to make Giovanni Montini, Paul 6 a cardinal; d) this to enable Montini, a candidate favored by the secular powers that influenced the election, capable of election at the next conclave; and e) despite the four different latae sententiae excommunications attached to these violations, Roncalli allowed himself to be selected as a grossly unworthy candidate incapable of accepting the election.
  3. The questionable Catholicity of several of the Cardinal-bishops based on statements made prior to the conclave (most of whom later participated in Vatican 2 and helped implement the changes it dictated). Their collaboration with those promoting Roncalli voided the election, It furthermore called into question the two-thirds plus one majority of cardinals mandated by Pius XII to elect the pope, something that is strictly required for validity.
  4. In retrospect, the Catholicity of those “accepting” John 23rd’s election, clergy and laity alike, seeing that most of them later also accepted the V2 changes and NOM mass. Under Paul IV’s bull, they were allowed ample time to assess the situation and separate themselves from it but did not even consider this possibility when doubts were later raised.

How many different ways would one wish to see an election voided? None of those writing about the acceptance of a papal election ever anticipated these circimstances. There are clear proofs from several sources that Roncalli promoted himself for election. His own words show he associated with Communists, and historians and journalists have chronicled his associations with Freemasons. Once again, all this is documented in The Phantom Church in Rome and was initially documented in part long before that in this author’s first self-published work. In addition, according to Can. 2391, “A college which knowingly elects an unworthy person is automatically deprived, for that particular election, of the right to hold a new election.” This would automatically void the “election” of Paul 6. While this canon may be said by some not to apply to a papal election, the law does not specifically exclude such application, either.

Still, strictly speaking, the canon is not needed since it applies to ecclesiastical elections and laws. The matters we have addressed here pertain to divine law because the pope canonically elected receives jurisdiction from God, not the electors, upon acceptance of the election; but only if the election is canonical. This is a matter of faith. And canonical means it must be carried out in full compliance with Pope Pius XII’s 1945 election law. It is plain to see, however, that the provisions of this law were not followed in Roncalli’s election. That election was therefore voided according to the infallible command of Pope Pius XII. Obedience upon which one’s salvation depends cannot be rendered to a doubtful authority; this is an absurd proposition, as Fr. Berry notes above. The safer course — keeping the faith at home — protects all Catholics from sacrilege, idolatry and the false teachings of thieves and hirelings, including those of a false pope. This was clearly the intention of the popes and Ecumenical Councils in their laws and teachings condemning antipopes and those who falsely claimed the offices of bishops without papal approval.

Pope Paul IV taught that these usurpers can never be considered as quasi-legitimate and all of their actions, including appointments or promotions to Holy Orders, are null and void. But Traditionalists and their followers resort instead to “recognize and resist,” a thoroughly unCatholic principle, or use the lack of bishops and priests to justify creating their own hierarchy, as with sedevacantists. Only recognition of the extent of the damage done to the Church will result in a true reconciliation of these groups, but it seems God did not intend this to be. Therefore we must trudge forward and accept His will, knowing that while we may be persecuted for following our conscience, we are protecting God’s rights and safeguarding our immortal souls.



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