“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:
- That he can define a doctrine on Faith and Morals;
- That he has supreme, full, immediate, and universal jurisdiction in the Church; and consequently:
- That he can appoint cardinals, who will elect the next Roman Pontiff;
- That he can appoint bishops to dioceses throughout the world;
- 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!