Siri theory a good example of Anti-Scholastic thinking

© 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.)

Promoters of Genoa’s long-deceased Guiseppe Cardinal Siri say they are seeing renewed interest in their promotion of Siri’s election as pope (said to have occurred in 1958 and 1963) since Francis’ election, and are trying to use this migration to attract still more to their ranks. Of course the Siri theory, (which they boldly proclaim as Siri FACTS), has become far more elaborate since the cardinal’s death, and now to claim him pope they have necessarily had to produce a “successor.” In reality, all the Siri theory and its tormented history amounts to is a conspiracy theory web carefully woven to attract disenchanted Catholics, not willing to look too far for answers, into its sticky orb. Do serious Catholics have any business using conspiracy theories as the basis for their faith? Not if they really understand and appreciate what the Church is all about and possess that faith to begin with. The only “conspiracy theory” (so-called by Protestants) that a true Catholic can credit as indisputable is the fact that Freemasonry long ago set out to destroy the Church and governments worldwide. This we must accept firmly and irrevocably as the constant teaching of the Church, coming infallibly from numerous popes over the course of two centuries.

How does one test the credibility of any other conspiracy theory? The answer will amaze those reading this piece. One site (http://warp.povusers.org/grrr/conspiracytheories.html) calls these theories “logical fallacies” and identifies them with the same false arguments and methods of proof Scholastic philosophy enumerates! It truly boggles the mind. That the Siri theory fits the criteria for a conspiracy theory can be proven from what this article relates, because it corresponds to so many of the qualifying factors listed.  And based on the observations offered by former Siri “insiders,” living the life of a Siri supporter is not unlike membership in a secret society, where only certain privileged persons have access to the “truth,” and leaders bestow that truth only upon those who have proven themselves “worthy” of receiving it.  The Catholic Church has never cloaked the identity of Her pontiffs in secrecy; by necessity popes must be public figures known to the faithful and accepted by them as pope, not figures hidden from view and whispered about in Internet chat rooms and among the privileged few. Historically the Church replaced those in exile or captivity, therefore not able to reign publicly, with popes able to function as such in the public eye, and this even in times of grave hardship, war and invasion. What the Church has never done is warp her teaching to suit a specific suspected incident or popular theory not in line with Church teaching and practice, and this is precisely what Siri theorists have advocated since the 1980s.

The Catholic Church has only one method for determining the value of evidence, one way of gauging whether or not this or that actually took place and if it does indeed conform with Church law and teaching. It is called the Scholastic method and consists of two separate sciences — theology and philosophy. St. Thomas teaches that these sciences are indeed separate, “yet …they agree. They are distinct because…philosophy relies on reason alone, 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). To claim someone uses Scholasticism in dealing with allegedly factual evidence while omitting the necessary theological proofs is to falsely assert that such facts are equal to the doctrinal evidence required and mandated by the Church Herself. It is a devious attempt to split theology from philosophy, when the two must agree. Truth IS one, while error is many. Those who pretend otherwise neither serve “veritas,” nor even understand the purpose for its existence.

As Rev. J. C. Fenton, a doctor in sacred theology who trained at the Angelicum in Rome wrote in the 1940s: “The principles from which theologians draw their conclusions are actually truths which have been revealed to the world by Jesus Christ our Lord…[Sacred theology] is a science which works toward the clear and unequivocal expression of the divine message…[It] is the work of explaining the content of that teaching which God has given the world through…our Lord, and which is proposed for belief of men by the infallible magisterium of the Church,” (Concepts of Sacred Theology). While it is true we are not theologians, it also is true that mere lay people have been forced to deal with situations normally dealt with only by the hierarchy and theologians expounding Catholic truth. We are not allowed to treat such subjects according to worldly standards; if we delve into them at all, we must do our best to assess them only from those standards used by the Church. Scholastic method assures these sacred subjects the dignity and reverence they deserve, unlike other methods. That no attempt at all has been made by the Siri crowd to observe these norms set down by the Church should alert those dealing with them that what they relate about this supposed event, the election of Cardinal Siri as pope, will never be certainly confirmed as true. But most importantly, as others measuring it by Catholic standards alone have proven, it does not suffice to present random facts as true. Those facts must prove that the laws and teachings of the Church regarding such matters are fully in agreement with the evidence and conclusions of those presenting them, and if not then such conclusions must miserably fail.

If one is truly a bona fide member of the Catholic Church, there is only one way to present the truths of faith; one way to examine and explain points of law and doctrinal matters in order to propagate the truths of faith. It was St. Thomas Aquinas who provided us with the means to present these truths, and Pope Leo XIII and other popes champion it here as the only method of demonstration to be used in defending the Catholic faith.

“The knowledge and exercise of this science of salvation have certainly always brought the very greatest help to the Church; whether it be for the right understanding and interpretation of Scripture, or for reading and expounding the Fathers with greater safety and profit, or for laying bare and answering different errors and heresies. This doctrine flows from the brimming fountain of the Sacred Scriptures, of the Supreme Pontiffs, and of Holy Fathers and Councils. Now indeed, in these last days, it is in the highest degree necessary to refute heresies and confirm the dogmas of the Catholic Faith. For now have come those dangerous times of which the Apostle speaks. Now men, blasphemous, proud, deceivers, go from bad to worse, wandering from the truth themselves and leading others into error…Scholastic Theology, [Pope Sixtus V] tells us, ‘has an apt coherence of facts and causes, connected with one another; an order and arrangement, like soldiers, drawn up in battle array; definitions and distinctions very lucid; unanswerableness of argument and acute disputations. By these the light is divided from the darkness, and truth from falsehood. The wiles of heretics, wrapped up in many wiles and fallacies, being stripped of their coverings, are bared and laid open.’ But these great and wondrous gifts can only be found in a right use of that philosophy which the masters of Scholasticism, of set purpose and with wise counsel, were everywhere accustomed to use even in their theological disputations…

“There are many, who with minds alienated from the Faith, hate all Catholic teaching, and say that reason alone is their teacher and guide. To heal these men of their unbelief, and to bring them to grace and the Catholic Faith, We think that nothing, after the supernatural help of God, can be more useful in these days than the solid doctrine of the fathers and the Scholastics. They teach firm foundations of Faith, its Divine origin, its certain truth, the arguments by which it is commended to men, the benefits that it has conferred on the human race, and its perfect harmony with reason. They teach all such truths with a weight of evidence and a force that may well persuade even minds unwilling and hostile in the highest degree.” (For additional papal proofs visit http://www.u.arizona.edu/~aversa/scholastic/24Thomisticpart1.htm). What these saints, canonists and theologians have to say on the incapacity of a heretic to be elected, the necessity of a canonical election, the need to rule out any and all possibility of intrigue and excommunicable offense barring candidates from election, the absolute necessity of confirming the accepto, and many other details covered in Canon Law and papal documents is crucial to determining whether any election actually took place. These points have all been examined, and Cardinal Siri has been found woefully wanting.

The only conclusions that true and serious-minded Catholics can arrive at, then, is that if scholasticism was not used in the fashioning, promoting and marketing of this elusive “theory,” it is not worthy of belief. But then what thought system DID they employ; how did they come to their conclusions and what is the value of their proofs? In analyzing the method used in their presentation, it can be said that it most resembles pragmatism, (see the Catholic Encyclopedia article on this topic), for it exhibits several of the points identified in this article. These are presented below.

  • An unproved hypothesis or hypothetical cause, if it explains the facts observed, fulfills the same purpose and serves the same ends as a true cause or established law…

This is a perfect explanation of the entire presentation of the “Siri thesis.” There is no verifiable evidence, from Cardinals participating in the conclave or those observing it, that Siri ever was elected Pope, chose a papal name and accepted his election as Canons 109 and 219 require for the reception of universal jurisdiction and validity. There IS canonical proof that he was not elected and could not have been elected. White smoke does not necessarily an election make; there could be other explanations. Some authors name other possible “popes-elect,” and one of these scenarios rings far more true than the election of Siri. In a matter that is determined a dogmatic fact, one must have certitude. None is available concerning Siri’s election in the1958 election. If the Church demands it, and Her laws demonstrate that She does, then without it there is no pope-elect. All the Siri proponents have to go on is a conglomeration of shaky, circumstantial evidence that cannot be verified by anyone deemed trustworthy or admissible as a witness in an ecclesiastical court. It cannot and does not serve the same end as established law, far less Church teaching. This is pragmatic reasoning and it can scarcely be held of equal weight as deductive reasoning or the binding precepts of Canon Law.

  • A problem presented to the thinking mind calls for an adjustment of the previous content of the mind to a new experience in a problem pondered…

The “new experience(s)” dredged up by the Siri crowd are the 1958 smoke, the alleged threat of nuclear attack if Siri accepted, the “Siri prisoner” theory, promises of new evidence, a new and earlier date of election which no one had previously reported, Siri’s appointment of Khoat and/or others as cardinals and even Khoat’s possible “appointment” as Pope. Any individual supporting the Siri thesis automatically confirms the event with his own acceptance and interpretation of the experience, an experience and perception related secondhand by supposedly credible “witnesses,” which amounts only to hearsay. Traditionalists must put aside all previous perceptions of the crisis in the Church to digest this nonsense. And yet the laws and teachings of the Church, the rules of evidence, the treachery of the cardinals electing Roncalli remain unchanged.

Experience is the true test of real existence…No item of experience ever can be verified definitely and irrevocably, only provisionally.

Siri supporters do not say this, but their reaction to those demanding solid evidence tells us that they presume what they have already presented as sufficient. Those who reportedly received leaks and “declassified documents” from the 1958 conclave — the cardinals voting, the testimony of certain secular “experts” speculating about the outcome of the conclave — only provide their intuition and experience concerning the whole affair. For a pragmatist, this is proof that what they want so badly to believe really happened actually did happen. The white soke really as a sign of Siri’s election, not a mistake. When Siri reportedly said he was bound by the secret this really did mean he was elected, not that he was, like any other cardinal, not allowed to reveal the internal workings of the conclave. (It would seem that a pope, however, would not be so bound.) But funny internal feelings (FIF) [1] and what amounts to hearsay reports from questionably Catholic individuals does not constitute the proof necessary to arrive at certitude. Once again, the truths of faith and Canon Law, not experience, comprise the golden standard.

Here we wish to propose a scenario of our own for the 1958 election based on dogmatic facts. If there were enough Freemasons to supply a majority to Roncalli, as Siri theorist Jim Condit claims, why did anyone bother to vote for Siri?  Why not Leger, Lienart, or others equally traitorous? A total of 51 Cardinals entered the Conclave, (for their names, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_electors_in_Papal_conclave,_1958).  For the election to be valid, 35 Catholic cardinals were needed, (two-thirds plus one). If more than 16 already were heretics, hence deposed (and later events confirm the number to be far more than that), then the election was invalid on its face; Pope Pius XII’s election constitution Vacantis Apostolica Sedis requires the two-thirds plus one for validity. Let’s presume there were 35 Catholics and 16 non-Catholics in the conclave. We will suppose an election occurred on Sunday, October 26, 1958 when the white smoke reportedly appeared. For purposes of argument we will say that Siri was elected but the election was reversed by threat. Given that Siri received the requisite 35 votes, at least 19 Cardinals must have switched to Roncalli by October 28. This is a fair-sized number, although the actual turn of events can only remain conjecture, (for one vote tally scenario, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_conclave,_1958. This chart, however, is short by one vote).

The 19 who retracted their votes to elect an antipope betrayed the fact that, according to Cum ex Apostolatus Officio, the law now governing the treatment of heretics and schismatics, they most likely were heretics before their elevation to the cardinalate. We know Roncalli was a suspected modernist so could never have been a candidate for election. Once the college “elected” him, they were disqualified from electing anyone else owing to heresy or cooperation in heresy, according to Canon Law. And no claim of fear or duress can be taken seriously when one understands the solemn vow cardinals take on their creation to defend the Faith and the papacy with their blood, if need be. [2] These cardinals, including Siri, went on to fully support Roncalli and his successors and to sign the documents of the false Vatican 2 council. There can be no doubt that they ever swerved in their loyalty to the antipopes. And neither can there exist any doubt whatsoever that the initial support of Siri by these same men amounted, at the very least, to his questionably valid “election.” For to claim that election valid today would mean that we are relying on votes also cast almost simultaneously for an antichrist. Condit’s contention that “The Siri Thesis leaves the See of Rome intact, albeit in eclipse, in harmony with the conception and vision of all the Fathers of the Church, [3] and all the approved prophecies,” simply cannot and does not hold water. The Siri thesis is a fine piece of pragmatism that refuses to obey the laws of mathematics as well as Canon Law and the teachings of the Church. It would use the acceptance of heresy (Masonic threats) as the very foundation for its connection to Rome as long as their abominable Siri hypothesis is upheld.

  • Individual interpretation of events and experience, intuition and sensistic feelings are the proper mode of judgment for this system, (modernism).

This wording is almost identical to that used by Pope St. Pius X to describe the Modernists. Siri theorists do not point to papal decrees or to the teachings of the ecumenical councils as proof that their conclusions are correct. They do not subject their theories to the rules expounded in Canon Law. They ignore the clear evidence that exists because their feelings and intuition, their experiences are more important than any of these. What they have done with the Siri theory is create a phantasmagoric conspiracy theory, not unlike the UFO theories, complete with death plots, threatened terroristic acts, unlawful detainment, doubles, secret codes, teenage “cardinals” and hidden rulers waiting in the wings to rush forward and save the day.  They have seasoned it with just enough Catholic sounding verbiage and private prophecy that those ignorant of how the Church really operates and what She actually teaches can be easily fooled. So many of these people are so used to their soap operatic, drama-filled lives and the conspiracy theories constantly hatched and retouched by those they trust as political and spiritual leaders that they have lost all touch with reality. Conspiracies there are, both political and religious, but they are called theories for a reason: no one can quite prove they are true. Most at best are suspect and the rest are simply a little more believable than the others.

If one can demonstrate that at least an attempt has been made to follow the rules of Scholastic philosophy, then certain conclusions can be drawn from this. For an opponent who cannot follow the rules of scholastic philosophy does not possess the proofs necessary to establish a defense. As the rule of law goes, facts are not presumed; they must be demonstrated. For years we have readily demonstrated the facts not from merely probable sources, but from unimpeachable sources. These infallible sources themselves cannot be questioned, as Rev. J. C. Fenton explained in his earlier quoted work. “Since the certitude of theology is from divine knowledge, it cannot be explained merely in function of the syllogistic process by which its conclusions are derived…Theological demonstration is a complex process, and the theological conclusion is not extrinsic to the body of actually revealed doctrine…The meaning of divine revelation, as it is proposed in the infallible magisterium of the Church, is so clear that demonstrations directed toward bringing out that meaning can possess a superior certitude…It was precisely the certitude of sacred theology that led to the unmasking of the various heresies which have appeared during the course of Christian history.”

He also includes Canon Law within the scope of scholastic theology, writing: “Canon Law is formulated by the Holy Father, by the Vicar of Christ on earth and by the ecumenical council, which is subject to and in communion with him…The teacher of Canon Law is able to indicate the actual direction given by the living and infallible Church,” (Concept of Sacred Theology). This is why, as Can. 1827, tells us, “He who has a presumption of law in his favor is freed from the burden of proof which is then shifted to his opponent. If the latter cannot prove that the presumption failed…the judge must render sentence in favor of the one on whose side the presumption stands.” The presumption here is that a true Catholic can use only the means infallibly determined as authentic and reliable to judge whether truths really do issue from the Catholic faith. One who is not willing to faithfully abide by this method is not an obedient son or daughter of the Church.

Conclusion

One cannot determine the outcome of Church affairs, especially when they concern incidents of the gravest import to the stability and future of the Church, without employing the very method the Church has prescribed for resolving questions concerning truths of faith. The Church long ago condemned pragmatism as an heretical system of philosophy, identifying it, Rev. Pascal Parente says, as the philosophical system used by Lutherans. In his “Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology,” he writes: “Goodness and truth become something subjective, subordinated to the conviction of the individual and his experimental tests…Pragmatism is a radical denial of all revealed religion and makes God’s very existence conditioned by psychological experience.” The hair-brained Siri scheme, initially cooked up to sidetrack a deeper investigation of the bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio and the restoration of the papacy and papal obedience, has been proven time and again to be fatally flawed in many of its aspects, even by nationally acclaimed publications. It is an embarrassment to the Catholic religion. More than that, it is a dangerous misrepresentation of the truth and a carefully laid trap to siphon off Catholics into yet another false papal election scheme. And yet the Siri founders told those who first supported their efforts they were pursuing their research to prevent that very thing from happening.

Some of us have been given the grace to see through these impostures and find the truth, thanks be to God. Pray that others are not seduced by these false prophets; or if held captive, are granted the grace and means to escape.

[1] See the work by the convert Arnold Lunn, Now I See, Ch. IX, “Facts Versus FIF”

[2] See The Siri File (now on the membership site) for more on the binding nature of this oath.

[3] All the Fathers have not foreseen this as Condit claims since St. Bernard, the last Father of the Church, definitely foresaw the seizing of the papal throne by Antichrist. And according to Pope Paul IV’s Bull Cum ex…, the pope has defined Antichrist (the abomination of desolation) as one who will be a heretic elected to the See unbeknownst to the faithful. So if Siri supporters want to deny a papal definition of Holy Scripture, then they can cease worrying about a pope because they are outside the Church.

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