"Archbishop Vigano versus Bishop Schneider on the validity of Pope Francis"

Discussion in 'Pope Francis' started by Xavier, Nov 17, 2023.

  1. Xavier

    Xavier "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will Triumph."

    This article is on the doctrine of the universal peaceful acceptance of a Pope.

    Archbishop Carlo M. Vigano has published a speech that he had intended to give at the Catholic Identity Conference in Pittsburgh on October 1st, 2023. But his speech and appearance were “deleted”, he explains, from the program. So here is his publication of the speech, which he calls Vitium Consensus, meaning Vice of Consensus. In the speech, he argues against the position of Bishop Athanasius Schneider on the universal peaceful acceptance of a Pope as a clear sign that the Pope is valid. So Vigano is referring to this particular type of “consensus” as if it were corrupt.

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider: “There is no authority to declare or consider an elected and generally accepted Pope as an invalid Pope. The constant practice of the Church makes it evident that even in the case of an invalid election this invalid election will be de facto healed through the general acceptance of the new elected by the overwhelming majority of the cardinals and bishops.” [Schnieder’s Article | My Commentary]

    The usual doctrine of the universal peaceful acceptance of the Pope (UPA) is based on the Church as a whole — Bishops, other clergy, religious, laity — accepting a Pope as the true successor of Peter. However, I agree with Bishop Schneider that the acceptance of a Pope by the body of Bishops is sufficient to prove that the Roman Pontiff is valid. The reason I would give is that the Church is always necessarily apostolic and indefectible. So it is not possible for the body of Bishops, successors to the Apostles, to go astray following a false or invalid or heretical successor of Peter (or claimed successor of Peter). If that happened, the Church would lose Her apostolic character, which is not possible, and would lose Her indefectibility, as the visible Head of the Church, Vicar of Christ, and foundational Rock of the Church would have gone astray along with the body of successors to the other Apostles. God does not permit the gates of Hell to prevail over the Church in this or any other way.

    The usual version of the UPA of the Pope relies on the body of the faithful, including the clergy, as a witness to the validity of a Roman Pontiff. This is also true, since the indefectibility of the Church prevents the body of the faithful, even if that body were considered apart from the Bishops, from going astray. For the Church can never be the Shepherds without a flock, nor a flock without the Shepherds. And so neither the body of Bishops, nor the body of the faithful can ever go astray by following a false, invalid, or heretical Pope.

    Cardinal Billot’s teaching on this subject is often cited, as follows:

    Cardinal Billot: “Finally, whatever you still think about the possibility or impossibility of the aforementioned hypothesis [of a Pope falling into heresy], at least one point must be considered absolutely incontrovertible and placed firmly above any doubt whatever: the adhesion of the universal Church will be always, in itself, an infallible sign of the legitimacy of a determined Pontiff, and therefore also of the existence of all the conditions required for legitimacy itself. It is not necessary to look far for the proof of this, but we find it immediately in the promise and the infallible providence of Christ: ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ and ‘Behold I shall be with you all days.’ For the adhesion of the Church to a false Pontiff would be the same as its adhesion to a false rule of faith, seeing that the Pope is the living rule of faith which the Church must follow and which in fact she always follows. As will become even more clear by what we shall say later, God can permit that at times a vacancy in the Apostolic See be prolonged for a long time. He can also permit that doubt arise about the legitimacy of this or that election. He cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately.

    “Therefore, from the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the aforementioned adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.” [Source of this quote: an article by Robert Siscoe here]

    Notice that the acceptance of the Church (or of the body of Bishops) “heals in the root” any problems with the papal election. This circumvents and invalidates any arguments or claims about the papal election. No one can undermine the authority of any true Pope by telling stories and making accusations about a conclave, which is relatively easy for dishonest schismatics to do. It is a dogmatic fact that Pope Francis is the Roman Pontiff, and true successor of Peter, because he has been accepted by the body of Bishops and by the body of all the faithful.

    This doctrine of UPA does not require the adherence of every Bishop, since of the 12 Apostles, one named Judas betrayed Christ. It is the body of Bishops which demonstrates that a Pope is valid by their obedience to the Pope, by their acceptance of his decisions on doctrine and discipline, and by their cooperation with him as both a fellow Bishop AND the head of the Bishops and head of the Church. Similarly, the doctrine does not require the adherence of every member of the faithful. It is the body of the faithful who show the validity of a Pope as successor of Peter, by accepting that he is the true Pope. For the Church cannot lose Her indefectibility, nor her characteristics as one, holy, catholic and apostolic. The unity of the Bishops as a body, and the faithful as a body, is therefore guaranteed by the grace of God, in the work of the Holy Spirit (who is the soul of the Church).

    Archbishop Vigano rejects this doctrine of universal peaceful acceptance, regardless of whether it is based on the body of the Bishops or the body of the faithful.
  2. Xavier

    Xavier "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will Triumph."

    Vigano: “In 1378, after the election of Pope Urban VI, the majority of Cardinals, Prelates and the people recognized Clement VII as pope, even though he was in reality an antipope. Thirteen out of sixteen cardinals questioned the validity of the election of Pope Urban due to the threat of violence from the Roman people against the Sacred College, and even Urban’s few supporters immediately retracted their election, summoning a new Conclave at Fondi which elected the antipope Clement VII. Even Saint Vincent Ferrer was convinced that Clement was the real pope, while Saint Catherine of Siena sided with Urban. If universal consensus were an indefectibly valid argument for a pope’s legitimacy, Clement would have had the right to be considered the true pope, rather than Urban. Antipope Clement was defeated by Urban VI’s army in the battle of Marino in 1379 and transferred his See to Avignon, leading to the Western Schism, which lasted thirty-nine years. Thus we see that the universal acceptance argument does not withstand the test of history.”

    History is subject to distortions and misinterpretations. So the test of a doctrine is not historical, but doctrinal. The doctrine is well-attested in Church sources. See this useful list of sources and quotes compiled by Robert Siscoe: Peaceful and Universal Acceptance Quotes (from the 15th to 21st Century).

    In addition, the doctrine of UPA is based on the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church, the dogma of the essential characters of the Church as one, holy, catholic (universal), and apostolic, and the dogma of the papal charism of truth and never-failing faith. If the body of Bishops, or the body of the faithful (considered with or even without the Bishops) were to go astray following a false, invalid, or heretical Pope, then the above dogmas would be false, which cannot be. A pope is certainly valid and the true successor of Peter, if he is accepted by the body of Bishops and the body of the faithful. If the historical conditions and the length of time that has passed since that time make it difficult to ascertain both, then either one is sufficient proof, being based on dogmatic teachings. If the historical conditions or the time that has passed make it difficult for us today to determine the acceptance of the body of Bishops or the body of the faithful, this does not invalidate a past Pope, and certainly not in the case of a Pope clearly ruled to be a valid Pope by the Church in subsequent years.

    Vigano distorts history by claiming the following: “In 1378, after the election of Pope Urban VI, the majority of Cardinals, Prelates and the people recognized Clement VII as pope, even though he was in reality an antipope.” Note that the number of Cardinals is not relevant. Most or all Cardinals will also be Bishops, so Bishop Athanasius Schneider says “cardinals and bishops”. But the doctrinal basis is that the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. (A priest who becomes Cardinal, e.g. Cardinal Dulles, is not a successor of the Apostles.) So a majority of Cardinals is not relevant. I should also point out that, historically, Popes were usually elected by a conclave of Cardinals, so the fact that a majority accepts the Pope that a majority voted for is not a proof. Vigano says “Prelates”, instead of Bishops, and this is also irrelevant. The body of Bishops, led by the Pope, is the Apostolic College, which is indefectible.

    In addition, antipope Clement VII appointed 19 Cardinals in order to give himself the majority of the Cardinals that Vigano cites. But Cardinals created by an antipope are not valid. It is absurd to use the number of Cardinals created by an antipope in any argument concerning papal validity. An antipope could hypothetically appoint 100 Cardinals, and it would prove nothing (except the invalidity of those Cardinals).

    Then it is simply historically false to claim that most of the people (the faithful) accepted Pope (antipope) Clement VII. Everyone knew that Pope Urban VI was still in office, and the faithful know not to accept a new Pope, while the prior Pope is still in office (not having resigned or died). In fact, Urban ruled from Rome, and the people know that the Pope is the Bishop of Rome. It is true that Popes can rule from other places, as has happened from time to time. But the current Pope ruling from Rome makes it clear to the faithful not to accept a new claimed-pope elected by a subset of the Cardinals, not a full conclave. Clement VII has some support politically, as the Popes of those days were involved in politics and even warfare. But political support does not grant UPA.

    It does not matter whether Pope Urban VI was popular or not. What matters is that he was accepted by the body of Bishops and the body of the faithful. For he was the Bishop of Rome, and reigned prior to Clement. Then the antipope Clement had so little support, that he was force to flee from city to city to city. Here is what Wikipedia says about antipope Clement VII, and it clearly shows the historical fact that Clement was not accepted by the body of the faithful:

    Robert [Clement VII] was elected pope at Fondi on 20 September 1378 by the cardinals who opposed the return of the Papacy from Avignon to Rome, and the election of Pope Urban VI in the latter town.[9] He chose the regnal name of Clement VII, and became the first of the line of ‘popes’ (now counted as antipopes) of the so-called Western Schism, the second of the two periods referred to as the Great Schism, which lasted until 1417.[10] Following a victory at Marino by Urban VI’s troops,[11] Clement, feeling vulnerable, fled Anagni to Sperlonga, then Gaeta, finally landing at Naples.[12] Received with great respect by Queen Joanna I of Naples, Clement found himself assailed by the local populace which chanted, “Viva Papa Urbano” and “Muoia l’Anticristo”.[12][13] He deemed Naples unsafe and fled by ship to Avignon, France, being greeted by five cardinals.[12]

    The people shouted at antipope Clement VII, “Long live Pope Urban” and “Death to the Antichrist”. Clement was force to flee from Anagni to Sperlonga to Gaeta to Naples to Avignon. And in the latter city, he had the support of 5 Cardinals only. Pope Saint John Paul II traveled the world for many years, and was greeted by literally millions of the faithful. Pope Francis also travels widely and is accepted by the Catholic faithful everywhere he goes.

    If, as a counter-factual hypothetical, Pope Benedict XVI did not resign, and some schismatic Cardinal elected Francis, then he would be an antipope. But in fact Benedict not only resigned, and called for a papal conclave, but Benedict also accepted Pope Francis as the true Pope for many year, even up to Benedict’s death. Note that Benedict wrote an encyclical, which was completed by Pope Francis and published by Pope Francis under his authority as Pope. So his cooperation is yet another clear indication that Pope Benedict XVI validly resigned and did accept Pope Francis as his true successor.

    Vigano claims that “Urban’s few supporters immediately retracted their election, summoning a new Conclave at Fondi.” False. The Cardinals who broke away from the current Pope, Urban VI, and the rest of the Cardinals and Bishops, were those that disliked the return of the papacy to Rome. Urban did not have “few supporters”, as shown by the fact that Clement VII was created by the people with cries of “Long live Pope Urban” and “Death to the Antichrist”. Vigano claims: “If universal consensus were an indefectibly valid argument for a pope’s legitimacy, Clement would have had the right to be considered the true pope, rather than Urban.” False. The rejection of Clement by the Bishops of Italy and many other nations, by the other Cardinals, and by the people, who went so far as to call him the Antichrist, shows that Clement did not have UPA, while Pope Urban did.
  3. Xavier

    Xavier "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will Triumph."

    In any case, if an historical situation does not, from out point of view centuries later, clearly show UPA, that may be due to the passing of time and the lack of documentation about that acceptance in the dioceses and parishes of the world. We need not prove UPA for each past Pope. Rather, it is a way for us to recognize, as a dogmatic fact, the validity of Roman Pontiffs and also Ecumenical Councils.

    Archbishop Vigano rejects the Second Vatican Council, calling it “the conciliar cancer”. But all the dioceses of the world have accepted Vatican II and have put its decision on doctrine and discipline in to practice. The Bishops of the world have continuously taught the doctrines of Vatican II, and its decisions on discipline have been put into practice. Every Pope since Vatican II has accepted the Council and taught from it, and the faithful throughout the world, as a body, have accepted Vatican I and Vatican II as valid Councils. The rejection of Vatican II (and even Vatican I) by some persons today, does not contradict the UPA, as there are always some in the Church whose faith is so weak that they will walk away from the Lord Jesus and His Church, when the Church does not teach what they would like.

    Since Archbishop Vigano rejects the validity of Pope Francis as well as the validity of the Second Vatican Council, Vigano is a schismatic who is automatically excommunicated. As Pope Leo XII taught in Satis Cognitum:

    Pope Leo XIII: “15. From this it must be clearly understood that Bishops are deprived of the right and power of ruling, if they deliberately secede from Peter and his successors; because, by this secession, they are separated from the foundation on which the whole edifice must rest. They are therefore outside the edifice itself; and for this very reason they are separated from the fold, whose leader is the Chief Pastor; they are exiled from the Kingdom, the keys of which were given by Christ to Peter alone.” [Satis Cognitum]"

    From: https://ronconte.com/2023/10/04/arc...op-schneider-on-the-validity-of-pope-francis/
  4. garabandal

    garabandal Powers

    Ron Conte is not a reliable source on Catholic doctrine.

    He claims to be a theologian but what are his qualifications?
    Mary's child, sunburst, AED and 2 others like this.
  5. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    He’s all over the place. Imho
    Mary's child, sunburst, AED and 2 others like this.
  6. Clare A

    Clare A Archangels

    Ron Conte is a layman and this is his opinion. He has no more authority than any of us.
    Mary's child, sunburst, AED and 2 others like this.

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