A Doubtful Pope Is No Pope

“A DOUBTFUL POPE.  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 begets no obligation-lex dubia non obligat.  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.  ‘Therefore,’ continues the Cardinal, ‘if a papal election is really doubtful for any reason, the one elected should resign, so that a new election may be held.  But if he refuses to resign, it becomes the duty of the bishops to adjust the matter, for although the bishops without the pope cannot define dogmas nor make laws for the universal Church, they can and ought to decide, when occasion demands, who is the legitimate pope; and if the matter be doubtful, they should provide for the Church by having a legitimate and undoubted pastor elected.  That is what the Council of Constance rightly did.'”
(The Church of Christ:  An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise, E. Sylvester Berry, S.T.D., p. 229)

The words above of St. Robert Bellarmine refer to the validity of a papal election.  Most people in the Catholic world accept that Jorge Bergoglio was validly elected by the cardinals in 2013.  This is not true, of course, as has been shown in many posts on this website.  The refutation given by many Catholics against the fact the Benedict XVI is the true pope is to make gratuitous assertions without backing them up with substantial arguments.  Nevertheless, for the sake argument, let us suppose that Catholics who accept Jorge Bergoglio as the true pope are correct that he was validly elected by the cardinals in 2013.  There is a subgroup of these Catholics that hold that there is a doubt whether or not Jorge Bergoglio is a validly consecrated bishop.  I have shown (see here) with infallible certitude that this subgroup must necessarily conclude that there is a doubt whether or not Jorge Bergoglio is a true pope.  Here is the argument again:

Every true pope is a validly consecrated bishop.
But Jorge Bergoglio, elected by the cardinals in 2013, is doubtfully a validly consecrated bishop.
Therefore, Jorge Bergoglio is doubtfully a true pope.

Unfortunately, there is a subgroup of this subgroup who still call Jorge Bergoglio pope without any qualification.  This second subgroup wants to have their cake and eat it too.  They are motivated by emotion because they are terrified of being labelled a Sedevacantist (which is a false label anyways as I have shown here).  Now, this second subgroup needs to most seriously reflect on the consequences of their illogic of at one and the same time doubting the validly of the episcopal consecration of Jorge Bergoglio and accepting him as a true pope.  Even though the quote above from St. Robert Bellarmine is referring to the validly of a papal election, his saying that a doubtful pope is no pope applies to the plight of the second subgroup.  Only the ground for the doubtfulness is different (doubtful election vs. doubtful consecration).  This second subgroup is admitting (by their false conclusion) that Jorge Bergoglio has these powers:

  1.  That he can define a doctrine on Faith and Morals;
  2.  That he has supreme, full, immediate, and universal jurisdiction in the Church; and consequently:
  3.  That he can appoint cardinals, who will elect the next Roman Pontiff;
  4.  That he can appoint bishops to dioceses throughout the world;
  5.  That he can, in union with the bishops throughout the world, consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

It should send chills down the spines even of those who accept that Jorge Bergoglio was validly elected and that he is a validly consecrated bishop to admit that a man such as him has these tremendous powers.  Yet, the second subgroup does so based on false reasoning!  Wow!  No.  This second subgroup must logically conclude that Jorge Bergoglio is a doubtful pope.  What then prudently follows from this conclusion is that which St. Robert Bellarmine and Fr. E. Sylvester Berry state above, that is, a doubtful pope is no pope!

5 thoughts on “A Doubtful Pope Is No Pope”

  1. First a little about myself.
    I was a novus ordo catholic, then God instilled in me a desire to seek the truth. I read voraciously. Then I came across the Traditional Catholic Faith and knew it was the truth and left my local parish and started going to the local SSPX. When the SSPX signed the declaration in 2012 I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Shortly afterwards the priest started quoting from the 1983 code of canon law and I knew it was time to leave. I started going to the Masses by priest from Boston KY. When Ambros Moran came in to the picture, again at first I accepted the explanations that were presented. Then doubt came along about his credentials. I presented my concerns and was told to wait the Father Pfeiffer has all the evidence. When it became painfully obvious that Ambros Moran was not a bishop and Father Hewko struck out on his own I stopped going to the Masses of Father Poisson, do to doubt about his ordinations.
    Now I have heard about the resignation of Pope Benedict 16 long before Tony latched on to it. I read a lot about the situation and I found that it was lacking. I’ve heard the arguments, and my thoughts are this: No amateur theologian, if I may use that term loosely, has the authority to declare one a Pope and the other not. As in the past, I think it was called the Great Schism, there were multiple claimants to the See of Peter. Many Saints adhered to one Pope or the other. If I remember right all the claimants stepped down and a new Pope was elected.
    Now here is a question that I posed to Tony and did not get a satisfactory response. If Benedict dies first what is your position, is Francis then the Pope or does the seat become empty. If Francis dies first then a new person is elected to the Papacy. Then Benedict dies later does the seat become vacant. In either case what becomes of the person everyone assumes is the Pope, does he become the Pope then since Benedict has died. This is the dilemma I see, one or the other is going to happen. It is unlikely that Benedict 16 and Francis are going to die at the same time.
    It seems to me that the argument that Tony uses are the same arguments that I’ve seen from the sede-vacantist crowd.
    This is my own opinion. The devil loves to sow discord and this controversy just smells of Satin. Satin has done a great job of splitting Traditional Catholicism and this is another example of it. He convinced the SSPX to go with the conciliar church, many rightly left over it. Then Satin used Ambros Moran to convince Father Pfieffer that he was a valid bishop and used his facilities to re-ordain Father Poisson. This caused another split in Tradition. Now we have Benedict is still Pope/Francis is Pope. This is just another attempt by Satin to split Traditional Catholics even more. Tradition has been splintered severely, and with every splinter Tradition gets weaker
    I do not let emotion or feelings get in my way, if I did I would still be attached to my conciliar parish.

    • Dear John,

      If Benedict XVI dies first, the cardinals will need to assemble and elect a new pope. If they do not, the seat of St. Peter will be vacant until they do. If Jorge Bergoglio dies first, then if the cardinals try to assemble a conclave to elect another pope while Benedict XVI is still alive, that person will be another antipope.

      I say don’t worry too much about the future. The facts are in front of you. Deal with them now. Benedict XVI did not renounce his munus which is required for him to abdicate.

      • If Benedict dies first and Francis is still alive they will not assemble a conclave because they all believe Francis is pope. So with that being the case you still become a sedevacantist. Like I said above no one has the authority to say Benedict is Pope or Francis is. Your OPINION is that Benedict is pope, others OPINION is that Francis is pope. This is something that will not be resolved until Tradition returns to Rome and a Traditional Pope or Council declares one or the other Pope. If I may quote Hillary Clinton, ” What difference does it make, Benedict is still a Modernist and is not that much different than Francis. The only difference is that Francis is more blatant about it than Benedict.

        • 1) You are changing the classical meaning of the term “Sedevacantist”. I don’t accept it. Between the death of Benedict XVI and a lawful conclave, the Chair of St. Peter will be empty.
          2) If you accept the Benedict XVI was pope up until 2013, why do you say I have no authority that he is still pope? That I accept him as pope is not based on my authority, it is based upon fact; he never resigned the munus.
          3) A future pope or council will not resolve this issue. It needs to be resolved now. Never in the history of the Church has “Who is the true pope” been resolved AFTER the claimants’ death. Go listen to Fr. Paul Kramer on this issue.
          4) If doesn’t make a difference who is pope, then I guess you are the one being okay with Sedevacantism in the classical sense; I am not. Your implication is that it’s not that important who the true pope is because they are both Modernists. You are dead wrong that it is not important.

  2. “They are motivated by emotion because they are terrified of being labelled a Sedevacantist (which is a false label anyways as I have shown here).”

    Tony, your words above are decisive because the desired control and manipulation by the name callers who use this method of operation have become victims themselves of others who have seen their weakness within their fear of being labeled ”Sedevacantists” or ”unintentional sedevacantists” or whatever else can be devised. Aptly rewarded for their intentional labels, they have sown what they have reaped. GOD has allowed them to be exposed to others and now to themselves if only they have the humility to do so and to further reject their prideful wrongdoing.

    Now to get down to more specifics regarding those “motivated by emotion”, I want to point out that the emotional attachment to a particular priest is the reason that some have fallen to the possible depths of confusion regarding that jorge bergoglio is pope because of a priest misleading the faithful. It is indeed a very sharp point to be made because this is exactly what vatican II conciliar Catholics did who have emotionally followed their priests into the abyss of schism, heresy, and all manner of false religion. It happened before this with Martin Luther as well.

    It does not matter that your priest is filled with kindness, that your priest has helped you steer clear of dangers, that your priest has repeated the lie over and over again and in every possible way that bergoglio is the pope. The only thing that matters is the TRUTH THAT GOD HAS PUT FORTH. The TRUTH is that Pope Benedict remains the pope.

    GOD HAS PROVED by every standard today that jorge bergoglio is a counterfeit pope who is invalidly and uncanonically elected. GOD’S instruments to do this are being blessed to provide SOLID CANONICALand other EVIDENCE that is beyond dispute. Emotions and emotional attachments to priests are false indicators of TRUTH, while right reason, and therefore right judgement is certainly discarded when one’s feelings replace TRUTH.



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