© Copyright 2018, T. Stanfill Benns (All emphasis within quotes added by the author)
Links posted on a site that has promoted (Peter) Tran Van Khoat as Gregory XVIII, Giuseppe (Cardinal) Siri’s “successor,” for the past two decades have revealed 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. (please email answers@betrayedcatholics for documentation).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 https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/vietnam-catholic-church). 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: (http://hotranvietnam.vn/index.php/home/chitiethodongtrantoc/1. 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.
Correspondent provides info
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” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caodaism). 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” (https://outskirtspress.com/catholicmanifesto; also https://selfpublishingauthor.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/introducing-rev-khoat-van-tran-ph-d-author-of-catholic-manifesto-a-trilogy/). 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 (https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/1657831/tran-v-fiorenza/). 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: (https://www.moneyhouse.ch/en/company/keystone-development-management-sa-en-21474044571. 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 (https://selfpublishingauthor.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/introducing-rev-khoat-van-tran-ph-d-author-of-catholic-manifesto-a-trilogy/), 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 http://www.todayscatholicworld.com/mar08tcw.htm#kook-in-kan. 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!
The Khoat business may be making a little more sense now that a few other shoes have dropped. Those on Trad forums are commenting that the videos issuing from the Catholic Identity Conference (CIC) two weekends ago are creating new interest in the plausibility of the Siri theory advanced for the past 35 years by Texan Gary Giuffre. The CIC was held for the fourth year in a row to unify Traditionalists (an impossibility), in the midst of the Francis controversy over pachamama and other heresies. I suspect the enthusiasm being generated for this foolishness is mainly among the younger generation who have no personal knowledge of what really went on in the 1970s, 1980s. But whatever was discussed at this conference or decided by it, the underlying reason it was held was to begin to rally Traditionalists in support of a papal restoration, the true reason behind Khoat’s exposure as a shyster.
So maybe we need to look at the Khoat situation from the standpoint of the attempts to “de-pope” Francis. The Siri theory has been encumbered by Khoat and his antics since the 1980s. Those backing Giuffre (Hutton Gibson and son Mel) eventually jettisoned him for failure to prove the case despite hundreds of thousands spent funding his efforts over a 15-year period. Khoat split with Giuffre for a new manager before the Gibsons cut Giuffre loose, muddying the water over the years with his papal restoration campaign. So In the end, he needed to go as well. But he also needed to go for another reason. The Gibsons and others already had their doubts about Khoat and they so informed Giuffre. Giuffre also had been warned by the Gibsons about other “priests” he recruited to say Mass at St. Jude’s Shrine in Stafford, Texas. An excerpt below from Hutton Gibson’s The War is Now, (no. 64, p. 7-8) sums up the situation.
“Gary is a great priest-finder. He tracks them down and brings them to St. Jude’s Shrine, so that Catholics in the area need never do without the traditional Mass. So he has maintained such jewels as Hector (the collector) Bolduc, Mario Blanco [ordered out of the Sacramento, Calif. diocese in 1973; later accused of alleged sexual misconduct with young boys-Ed.] and Vincent (novus ordo) Le Moine, all up to his strict standards. You may have read about our trials with Le Moine in The Enemy Is Still Here!, pages 342 to 353, in which he is called ‘Father X.’” Gibson further relates that these priests remained in their positions even despite numerous complaints to Giuffre regarding their behavior. (This is a great case in point, regarding only one of many Trad operations. Why should it surprise anyone that they would wind up with only NO flotsam as priest material?! Another great reason to keep the faith at home.)
But Giuffre managed to recover from the sound and well merited public trouncing delivered by his funders, and this recovery was not surprising. Giuffre was marketing a commodity Traditionalist organizers desperately needed, and they patiently waited for the right time to use it for their own purposes. They knew the dam would eventually break where Khoat was concerned (and possibly even facilitated the break?), and that this would free them up so they could move forward. Papal restoration could then be entirely their game. Others would be freed to join the cause without Khoat’s embarrassing baggage. And this speculation is based on similar dynamics at work in past Traditionalist splits.
Some believed Khoat was the pope in exile or perhaps a cardinal. (Khoat stated he and others worldwide had been appointed cardinals.) Others did not buy Khoat’s cardinal story while believing in the existence of a Siri successor — somewhere. Khoat was a major player in obtaining “confirmation” that Siri was elected in 1958, but only after flipping his initial story in 1988 — that Siri denied he was elected three times — to a new version in 1989. This was relayed to Jim Condit, alleging that that Siri later told Khoat he was elected pope in 1958. This turnaround happened not long after Siri’s death. To the best of my knowledge, Khoat’s is the only (firsthand) testimony available on this topic, (although it appears that one other person has also changed his story to now report Siri was elected). Yet after what has been revealed regarding Khoat, who could possibly trust anything he says, now or then?! And that being set aside, where is the documentation either of these statements were ever made to Khoat?
The tantalizing details of Siri’s “papacy” are being released piece by piece in interviews with Giuffre on the CIC website. But the details of this story are nothing new; it has changed very little since 1989 when I viewed it as a slideshow. Only those promoting it and the method of delivery has changed. It is new and exciting only to the younger set who don’t realize the implications of this tale and its dubious background. And much of the information on that background has yet to be revealed.
The question begs to be answered — how would Trads benefit from embracing the Siri theory? Well it could be the universal cure all for their nagging ills. With Siri’s successor identified and secured, they might successfully challenge and unseat Francis. They could claim to restore the Church to Her former state of existence. But most importantly, they could rerun the Western Schism scenario and claim the pope in exile and his successor had reigned all along, secretly, guaranteeing jurisdiction for all Trad clerics. It is a problem they have struggled with from the beginning and never successfully resolved. Jurisdiction has been a thorn in their side since the 1980s, when various lay people pointed out Traditionalists did not and could not possess it, neither from Christ Himself nor some other (hidden?) source. And certain validity, while they will not even discuss it as a possibility, also has been lacking from the beginning. The “Siri thesis,” as Giuffre calls it, is the one solution that would tie up every loose end and legitimize their existence. There is just one problem: it’s not a thesis, and IT’S NOT CATHOLIC.
To be a Catholic, one must think and act like a Catholic. The dictates of Catholic thought and belief are set out by the Popes, decisions of the Holy See, the Ecumenical Councils, Canon Law and the unanimous opinion of scholastic theologians. When one sets out to prove a case, especially something as important as who is the lawful successor of the Roman Pontiff, it is a theological necessity to demonstrate the veracity of the proofs presented in the form prescribed by the Church, according to the most reliable sources available. Before embarking on such a daunting task, one must first make absolutely certain that all preliminary investigation has been duly conducted. If one is proposing that a man be considered as the possessor or potential possessor of a clerical office of any kind, it must first be proven that man is beyond any doubt a baptized Catholic who has not in any way been suspected of or excommunicated for heresy, apostasy or schism. Baptism is proven by church records, but Canon Law determines if someone has abandoned the Catholic faith.
Let us pretend we just heard a rumor Siri was elected pope in 1958. Our first impulse should not be to dive into the middle of the story, but to ask the question, “Who is this Siri?” and proceed from there. With only a little research on the Internet, it is easy to see that Siri was a man who became a cardinal under Pope Pius XII, served in his capacity as cardinal until his death in 1989, celebrated the Novus Ordo Missae, participated in the elections of John 23, Paul 6, John Paul I and John Paul 2 and otherwise endorsed and accepted everything that was the V2 church. Now, if one is a true Catholic who rejects the Novus Ordo as just another non-Catholic sect, s/he should know that Catholics who participate in non-Catholic services and functions are no longer considered members of the Church, especially if they are high-ranking prelates and even if they are not. The hierarchy, however, is held accountable to a higher degree because they are presumed to know better. This sin, resulting in ipso facto excommunication (automatic, with no need of a declaration from a superior), is called communicatio in sacris. It is incurred by anyone assisting at Novus Ordo (or Traditionalist) services in any way.
Had Siri truly been elected with the intent to preserve the Church as She existed under Pope Pius XII, he would have made this fact known. He would not have addressed John 23 as Holy Father, continued his activities as a Novus Ordo cardinal, or participated in subsequent elections of false popes. He would at the very least have resigned as cardinal and retired to some Italian hamlet or left the country. This is only common sense. Was he kept a prisoner and not allowed to function? Shades of the crazy Paul 6 in chains confabulation that circulated in the 1970s! No, the devil made him do it alright, and no one can prove otherwise. Given Siri’s behavior following the election of John 23, could he possibly have been considered a Catholic? There is no way he could have received absolution, since all those who defected from the Church in accepting John 23 automatically resigned their offices and lost all jurisdiction to absolve from censures and forgive sins. Oh, and by the way; only a true pope can absolve from sins involving heresy, apostasy and schism, which Siri committed in accepting the Novus Ordo church. So was Siri even a candidate for consideration as the successor to Pope Pius XII? Not hardly.
Because Siri’s fitness to be considered a papal candidate was never considered, we have the “Siri thesis.” And those pretending to reject the Novus Ordo and all it stands for are actually willing to accept this man — and possibly some trumped up successor — as a true pope! They trash Giuffre’s funders for collaborating with a Novus Ordo publication (Inside the Vatican) to expose the Siri theory as groundless, but think nothing of absolving Siri from all guilt in actively collaborating with the church in Rome. Anything to validate themselves, no matter how flimsy the evidence might be. They believe Giuffre when he trots out his learned “thesis,” not even knowing or understanding the obligation on Giuffre’s part to faithfully fact check his own work. But then what Giuffre has presented is not really a thesis at all. A thesis is defined in Catholic terms by Rev. A. C. Cotter, S.J. (The ABC of Scholastic Philosophy) as a statement devoid of any ambiguity, obscurity or superfluity, worded with the utmost care. Proofs must be presented and the meaning of the thesis as a whole laid down. The work Giuffre calls a thesis, rather than being free of the flaws just described, is riddled with them. This is not an idle statement, but has been documented over the years by myself and others. Visit the site to read this article: (https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/articles/a-catholics-course-of-study/traditionalist-heresies-and-errors/errors-in-matters-of-faith-and-morals/why-guiseppe-siri-was-never-pope/).
In fact, Giuffre’s ramblings do not even qualify as an hypothesis. Bernard Wuellner, S.J., in his Summary of Scholastic Principles, states that: “An hypothesis must be probable (not in conflict with other truths and not leading to consequences against the facts), useful (as guiding and suggesting further research and experiment) and capable of being further tested” (no. 261, p. 268). Giuffre’s entire presentation on Siri is shot through with factual errors and flies in the face of all the papal documents laying down the procedures for papal elections, as well as the canons regarding ecclesiastical elections. Rather than facilitate further research, it handicaps the researcher, who is forced to wade through a sea of might haves and maybes to get to the bottom of what Giuffre is really trying to say. At best, Giuffre’s observations and conclusions qualify as a conjecture, “An inference formed without proof or sufficient evidence” (Merriam-Webster). Pope Pius XII condemned the use of conjectural opinions in 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… 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…. If such conjectural opinions are directly or indirectly opposed to the doctrine revealed by God, then the demand that they be recognized can in no way be admitted.”
Scholastic theology has been demeaned by Traditionalists for decades, an error proscribed by Pope St. Pius X in his condemnation of modernism. There is no reason to believe that now, all of a sudden, it will be esteemed and used as the proper method to evaluate the truth. Likewise Canon Law, consistently misrepresented, misconstrued and misinterpreted by Traditionalists since the 1970s. Pope Pius XII’s infallible constitution on papal election, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, is not difficult to follow; the actions of anyone contravening his constitution by usurping papal jurisdiction or violating papal or Church law are declared null and void. The Phantom Church in Rome explains in detail how many of these laws were violated. The book also outlines St. Robert Bellarmine’s teaching on what to do in the case of a doubtful pope. Although Bellarmine has been quoted many times in support of various Traditional propositions, this teaching of his is never cited.
Both Pope St. Pius X and Pope Pius XII taught in their papal election laws that if there was any lay interference whatsoever in the election, it was null and void. If Giuffre has proven anything, he has proven there was interference. Ergo, the entire election was null and void. Could we say there was doubt regarding who was elected pope? That is an understatement. Yes there certainly was doubt, meaning any men issuing as supposed popes from that conclave were no popes at all. The legitimacy of the Roman Pontiff is a dogmatic fact, which cannot be denied because it is so closely connected to the dogma of unbroken succession to the papacy. This fact must be certainly established and when there is positive doubt regarding a papal election, this cannot happen. Serious, positive doubt has been documented regarding Roncalli’s election as well as Siri’s purported election. These very serious doubts, in and of themselves, are sufficient to consider both men out of the running; nothing else needs to be proven. This we have from popes, councils and a Doctor of the Church. But Gary Giuffre and his suspense-laden tale of intrigue and skullduggery is so much more appealing! Obedience to the Roman Pontiffs and the rule of law is so old hat, so boring. Not to mention necessary for the salvation of souls.
And so we leave this as a record, knowing that sooner or later this misguided attempt to recreate the Church will come unglued like all the others. It reminds me of the statue described in the book of Daniel: “And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest the iron mixt with miry clay, they shall be mingled indeed together with the seed of man, but they shall not stick fast one to another, as iron cannot be mixed with clay. But in the days of those kingdoms, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed…and it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and. Itself shall stand forever.” (Dan. Ch. 2, vs. 42-44). Here, of course Daniel speaks of the Catholic Church, which can never be destroyed, not by the likes of the Siri crowd or any other false sect. Iron and clay, the ideologies of different sectarian parties struggling for control, do not mix.
These Traditionalist sects could not accept the teaching of the continual magisterium of the past and if they elect yet another false pope, they will not be able to accept his rule over them either. Christ will destroy all with the spirit of His mouth and the brightness of His coming (2 Thess. 2:9), be it during a visitation of His justice or the Second Coming. Lift up your heads… for the time is at hand.