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Today is a RED LETTER day.

Over at the AKA Catholic blog, Louie Verrecchio posted a piece that really nailed the logical implications behind the current situation behind the Sacred Vatican Wall that can be termed as the “two popes” dilemma.

On an unrelated, but not entirely unrelated note, we have information about Francis, the bishop of Rome going completely and utterly paranoid. It would appear that one of the powers behind the throne, Card. Angelo Sodano, the promoter of the papabile FrancisDavosCardinal Parolin, has “requested” that all cardinals living in Rome inform Francis, the bishop of Rome as to their whereabouts. Can ankle bracelets be far behind? And not only… But I digress…

So what can one make of the above two incidents and how they are related?

Here is my HYPOTHESIS. 

What everyone needs to understand is that the Francis bishopric of Rome was created and financed to be a “transformational” bishopric of Rome.

In order for the Francis bishopric of Rome to be transformational after the passing of Francis, it needs to find a foundation on which the “FrancisChanges” can be “cemented”, so as to make them permanent.

Up until the Second Vatican Council, that foundation was Aristotelian logic as refined and developed by the scholastics and specifically the 13th Century Dominicans.

But with the suppression of Thomism and by extension Aristotelian logic, the neo-Modernists were left with a huge dilemma. That dilemma was caused by violations of the Laws of Thought, i.e. Identity, Contradiction and Excluded Middle. I will not go into this now, but the Dr. Lamont post here explains it in painstaking detail.

To look at it another way, if a belief system does not abide by the Laws of Thought (Logic), then it will atrophy into relativism and die away. Think about a situation where a wife is balancing the checkbook. She spent too much money, and decides that to make here checkbook balance, 2+2=5, a la Fr. Spadaro. And since it worked this time, next month, the logically challenged house wife needs to make 2+2=10. Yet at the bank, 2+2 will always be equal 4. Needless to say, these two sides of the banking relationship need to be reconciled.

Which brings us back to Francis. There is a way for the logically challenged housewife to maintain here creative accounting practices and simultaneously maintain her banking relationship in good standing. If her brother or husband is a mafia enforcer let’s say, she can ask that relative to go over to the bank manager and make him an offer that he can’t refuse.

Issue resolved.

And it gets around the “magical thinking” dilemma.

But the question then becomes, is this situation sustainable?

Well, no it is not.

Say the enforcer happens to get a heart attack on his way to the bank and passes away in one month’s time.

Guess what will happen to that housewife and her banking relationship in two month’s time, or when the bank manager learns of the new situation?

Moral of the story, when using an “approach” that is not based on logical grounds, the substitute approach is at best transitory.

With respect to the post-conciliar church, the analogous situation we are referring to, is the part of the Lamont text that deals with “historical perspectivism”. NB: “Historical perspectivism” is the idea that the Church is like a ship that sails into different ports throughout time and adapts to the spirit of the time at that particular port. And from the Rorate Caeli post, it would appear that this TRANSRATIONAL substitute foundation of “historical perspectivism” has finally disintegrated.

And how do we know this?

The proof that what we are observing behind the Sacred Vatican Walls is the disintegration of the neo-Modernist post-logical construct of “historical perspectivism” on which the “new springtime” is built, is the appearance of the use of FORCE on the part of the neo-Modernists.

To be more specific, in order to save the illogical and TRANSRATIONAL status quo, the current occupant of the Holy See and his brain trust have been consigned to the use of FORCE to suppress their perceived enemies.

One can say that the post-Modernist’s “historical perspectivism” ship has sailed!

NB: Please remember that when dialogue breaks down, it is only the use of FORCE that remains as the means to maintain power. But I digress…

Here is how Rorate Caeli commented:

Maybe he should just lock them up in a prison in Vatican City State and release them only after thorough authorization. Who knows, they may be “conspiring” against him, or even worse, planning what to do in the case of an upcoming conclave — as Francis’ own supporters did long before Benedict XVI ever “thought” of abdicating (or “being abdicated”…)

The larger problem with the above resolution used by TeamFrancis to pacify their “how to maintain power” dilemma is that the next pontiff that comes along can change everything back, or do something completely different since he will then have the keys to the Vatican dungeon.

But whatever the next pontiff does, there is no way in which he himself will be able to be “transformational” either, since his and Francis’ “transformations” will have no OBJECTIVE STRUCTURE underpinning their changes, but instead those changes were and will be, based on the capricious nature of just another wretched sinner.

And no matter how hard any future Roman Pontiff, be he legitimate or False, tries to interpret the “mind of Francis”, some adversary will come along and claim that his interpretation of the “mind of Francis” is wrong and that the adversaries interpretation is in fact the correct one.

And what will be the basis for the then “correct interpretaion” of the “mind of Francis”?

The same one that Napolean identified a couple of centuries ago, namely: God fights on the side that has the biggest guns.

It’s that simple…

And now, the AKA Catholic post that needs to be READ an DISCERNED in its entirety…


“Dogmatic certainty” that Francis is pope

Consider, if you will, the following hypothetical scenario:

A Catholic man and woman are validly joined in holy matrimony.

At some point, the man abandons his wife.

No annulment is obtained.

The man, still validly wed, proposes marriage to another woman; managing to deceive even their pastor into believing that he is single.

Marriage vows are exchanged at the altar with the pastor as witness, and the “newlywed” couple is widely embraced by the entire community as man and wife.

QUESTION: Is the couple validly married?

ANSWER: No, the conditions for a valid marriage, in spite of the convincing outward appearance to the contrary, did not exist.  

We might sum up the general principle being applied in this case as follows:

An act of deception, no matter how cleverly conceived or convincingly executed, cannot change the objective reality of a given situation.

Needless to say, this principle applies always and everywhere; i.e., there are no exceptional cases where it does not apply.

So far so good?


Now let’s consider an analogous hypothetical scenario:

A certain cardinal is validly elected pope.

At some point thereafter, enemies of the pope secretly pressure him via threats of harm, perhaps either to himself or to the Church, in order to force his resignation.

The pope acquiesces to this pressure and declares his intent to resign the Office of Peter.

The resignation is invalid, of course, given that “it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely.” (See 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canon 332 §2)

The pope, still the valid occupant of the Office of Peter, manages to convince the faithful – both laity and hierarchy – that the See of Rome is vacant.

A conclave assembles and promptly elects another cardinal who is then presented to the world as the new pope, and he is widely embraced by the entire community as the Holy Roman Pontiff.

QUESTION: Is cardinal #2 the pope?

ANSWER: No, the conditions for a valid conclave, in spite of the convincing outward appearance to the contrary, did not exist.  

Now let’s set our sights on reality:

There are any number of reasons to suspect that the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was in some way forced. Whether or not you see them, stick with me here…

Oh, but Benedict said that his decision was freely made!

Yes, he did, but as Cardinal Walter Brandmüller recently acknowledged:

“The simple declaration of free resignation on the part of the person in question [the pope] is not enough, because depending on the circumstances that statement could easily be forced, and the resignation therefore invalid.”

I’ve had the pleasure of debating this situation with some well-informed and intelligent friends who will readily concede that the circumstances of Benedict’s resignation suggestthat it may very well have been forced.

They insist, however, that even if it was forced and technically invalid, the simple fact that a moral unanimity of the Church has since accepted (and continues to treat) Francis as pope provides “dogmatic certainty” that he is, in fact, the pope.

In other words, even if the See of Rome was not truly vacant as conclave 2013 assembled, they firmly believe that Jorge Bergoglio is now the valid occupant of the Office of Peter.

Look, I don’t know for certain that Benedict acted under duress, but what I do know is that an act of deception, no matter how cleverly conceived or convincingly executed, cannot change the objective reality of a given situation.

To suggest otherwise in this case is to imagine that a forced resignation can be valid (i.e., God will remove the papacy from the extorted pope) under the solitary condition that the crime is carried out in such a way as to fool a moral unanimity of people.

Sorry, I’m not buying it.

At this, let’s take a closer look at this claim of “dogmatic certainty” arising from Francis’ acceptance to see if it holds up to scrutiny.


It is a matter of dogmatic certainty that a man once made pope remains pope until such time as either he dies, validly resigns, or is deposed (which has never happened).

No one contests this.

If my friends are correct, then what we would have in this case, at best, are two competing dogmatic certainties, and that, my friends, cannot be; i.e., one of them does not apply in every conceivable situation, most notably, the present one.

My friends have cited the writings of certain venerable theologians in order to demonstrate the “dogmatic certainty” that they believe applies in the present case.

On close inspection, however, one will find that none of said writings speak to the specific circumstances of a conclave assembling under false pretenses; a situation that is not altogether unprecedented.

On April 7, 1378, less than two weeks after the death of Pope Gregory XI, the cardinals who were present in Rome assembled in conclave and validly elected the man who would be known as Pope Urban VI.

For various and perhaps even good reasons, Pope Urban was unpopular with the College of Cardinals.

So, on September 20th of that same year, many of these same cardinals assembled in conclave and proceeded to elect another man who took the name of Clement VII.

History clearly recognizes Clement as an anti-pope; the first of the Western Schism.

This recognition is not based upon the fact that only a portion of the Church recognized and accepted him as pope. (Indeed, the same could have been said of Urban VI thanks to the confusion that followed).

The fact that Clement was not universally accepted was merely a sign of the objective underlying truth that he was not a true pope.

Likewise, when a moral unanimity of the Church accepts a man as pope it is also merely a sign of the objective underlying truth that the man is pope.

NB: In neither case does this sign [of acceptance or non-acceptance] create the underlying truth; it simply reflects it, and the truth, whatever it may be, in no way depends on it.

As such, even if a moral unanimity of the Church had embraced Clement VII as pope in 1378, Pope Urban VI still would have been pope and Clement a pretender.

With all of this said, the reason Clement VII was an anti-pope is very simple and entirely objective; the See of Rome was not vacant when the cardinals proposed to elevate him to the papacy.

That’s it.

The subjective intentions of the cardinals that proposed to elect him – good, bad or otherwise – are irrelevant; i.e., even if every last one of them was somehow convinced that the Chair of St. Peter was vacant as they met, it would not matter one iota.

In light of the points raised here, my interlocutors have responded:

God will not allow the Church (again, a moral unanimity) to follow a false pope. This would be tantamount to the ‘gates of Hell prevailing’!

To which I would point out two things:

One, we know that God did allow arguably 2/3 of the Church to follow a false pope at certain points during the Western Schism and the gates of Hell did not prevail then.

So, why not 7/8 of the Church? How much is too much?

In 1958, if you were to describe the Second Vatican Council and the destruction of the liturgy that followed to a devout Catholic, he likely would have laughed it off, saying, God will not allow it as this would be tantamount to the ‘gates of Hell prevailing’!

If little else is crystal clear these days, it’s that God is willing to allow far more evil to enter the Church than most of us can imagine.

Secondly, my friends are essentially insisting that God will allow certain devious men to force His hand in removing the papacy from His Vicar if only they are crafty enough to extort the pope into resignation with sufficient stealth.

Is anyone really willing to hang their hat on this proposition?

I’m not.

In conclusion, make of these observations what you will, but just know that to insist that Francis’ acceptance provides “dogmatic certainty” that he is pope – in spite of any shenanigans that may have taken place with respect to Benedict’s resignation – you are also necessarily making claims that fly in the face of both faith and reason.