WAS A PAPAL ELECTION BY THE LAITY VALID?
Pope Michael (Box 74 Delia Kansas 66418). ©VaticanInExile.com
This question comes up because of the letter of certain Canon Laws and their interpretations. Therefore let us reconsider the reasoning behind a lay election:
CONCLUSION 1: Therefore the requirements for Cardinals to vote could not be applied, since to do so would lead to the heretical proposition that there will never be another Pope.
A Note on Heresy
Heresy comes with the following penalties:
Nor at Confirmation, (Canon 795, paragraph 2)
If they have joined an heretical or schismatical sect, or fallen away from the Faith, they also may not vote. (Canon 167, paragraph 4)
See also Election Update, May 31, 1990, Special Issue, pages 9 to 14.
Even if this is true, all effort was made to contact these clerics and none came forward and proved their claim, therefore we presumed they did not exist. Even eight years later, no cleric has come forward and proven that he did not defect.
No clergy was available to come to the election. 6. Therefore the laity must elect.
But lay interference is specifically forbidden by Canon Law. (Canon 166)
An impossible law does not bind.
But Other Laws Are Impossible
In "Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century?" We demonstrated many laws as binding, which many consider impossible, because of 'extraordinary times'.
One such law is the requirement of jurisdiction in Confession, and this law must be addressed:
1. Jurisdiction in Confession, Canon 872. Of course, many claim to have such jurisdiction in some manner. One commentator would take one look at this and call it canonical gymnastics and over the years these gymnastics have become quite fantastic. (We recommend reread that section of Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century?)
2. However, the law is not impossible, for by electing a Pope, he can provide the required jurisdiction. The same principle applies to any other law. (Until such a priest is found, Confession of desire can be had through the Perfect Act of Contrition.)
Conclusion 3: Therefore the laity had to vote, because of the lack of Cardinals and clergy, and to deny this is to accept heresy.
Objection 6: But we should have waited for a cleric, because one exists.
Reply: To wait would have only intensified the Great Apostasy. (Should We Await a Miracle? pages 252 to 257 of Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century?)
b. Also there was a time limit. (Canons 178 and 9)
Note We took the most liberal interpretation on the Time limit, Vacantis Apostolica Sedis provides a stricter time limit, although it does not disqualify the electors if they do not proceed.
Objection 7: But Vacantis Apostolica Sedis provides no time limit for completion, because it does not disqualify the electors if they do not proceed.
a. By using the other election laws in other areas to provide a method of electing, we also invoked it here. The longest interregnum in history was only ended, when the doors were boarded up and the roof removed, because the Cardinals were partying and not electing. This is the origin of the conclave. Therefore We consider this reflects the spirit of the law to proceed rather than wait.
b. The Papal election law actually has a shorter time limit, which was lengthened in this century to allow far-flung Cardinals time to proceed to the place of Election, because of new forms of transportation.
c. Pope Michael has ordered an immediate election in the event of his death, leaving his funeral in the hands of his successor! Objection 8: The electors were not qualified, because they were heretics and members of non-Catholic sects at one time.
a. The electors had removed themselves from said sects and done all in their power to return to the Church, the balance being impossible. (An impossible law does not bind.) See pages 366 to 369 of Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century?
b. Two of the electors wrote a book exposing these heretics among others and proceeded previously to public refutation of the sects they had once belonged to. Two others paid for the book and also participated in such public exposition at no little expense. (All told, probably around $15,000 over the years.)
c. Pope Formosus (De Montor's Lives of the Roman Pontiffs, volume 1, Page 227):
In 876 he (Pope John VIII) excommunicated Formosus, Bishop of Porto (who in the year 891, succeeded him in the pontificate), because that bishop had left his church without permission of the Pope, and was, moreover, accused of conspiring against the weal of the empire and Christendom.
Page 230: (Marinus I) immediately excommunicated Photius, and restored Formosus to his See of Porto, and also permitted him to go to Rome.
Page 233: John VIII has condemned Formosus, deposed him from his See, exiled him, and forbidden him to return to his church or to Rome, and had made him promise to content himself with lay communion.
Objection 9: The electors should have waited for absolution from the censures for heresy in the internal forum. (Note this was raised the evening before the election, although the two men had ample time to make written objection earlier and/or provide such a cleric. (One was in fact a doubtfully ordained priest of a Traditionalist sect.)
a. Although absolution in the internal forum would have been desirable, again no priest could be found who could do this.
b. The irregularity of Canon 984 and 167 can only be absolved by the Pope, so the law is impossible until after the election of a Pope.
c. The first act of Pope Michael was to absolve the balance of the electors from all excommunications and censures.
Objection 10: But can a group of only one hundred people obligate the rest of us to accept their pope? Would a group of 50,000 obligate us? (Position of Robert F. Hess, of the 'Saint Francis Newsletter' Group.)
Reply: The number of electors has always been small and for over a millenium never over 70, in fact often less than fifty. (Page 402 of Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century?)
Two elections (not counted this most recent one), were posited by six electors and one by eight electors. The case of the election of Pope Innocent II is important. The Cardinals waited around the dying Pope and as soon as he died, all six elected Innocent II and immediately left town, because Anacletus I had his group trying to usurp the papacy. (Pages 76, 117 and 350-351 of Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century?)
b. And they that remain ... shall be so few, that they shall easily be numbered, and a child shall write them down., Isaias 10:19.
c. Saint Athanasius says that the Church if it is reduced to a handful is nonetheless the Church.
d. God does not play the numbers game, the world plays the numbers game, majority rules, etc.
Objection 11: What if an underground church in China already elected a pope? Of one in Africa? What if a retired bishop or two showed up, who never signed the Vatican II documents? Then what? (St. Francis Newsletter)
Reply: Just as at Constance, the true Pope would resign in favor of a new election.
a. Unlike Constance, all claimants to the Papacy would resign in favor of a new election.
b. Pope Benedict XV determined that Gregory XII was the true Pope as were his predecessors at the time of Constance. This supports the proposition that the first in time is the true Pope.
c. It is not probable that an election has occurred in Russia or China, because they may not yet know of the Vatican II problem.
d. If Bishops are found, they will submit to the Pope.
Objection 12: The election of Pope Michael on July 16, 1990 could not have been valid, because there was already a Pope.
Reply: the electors diligently searched for a Pope and found none, and demonstrated this in Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century?
a. Save the Roman line of Anti-Popes, all were appointed by some vision or some such other invalid method.
b. The Roman line was proven to have been heretical from 1958 until the present.
c. The Siri claim became a dead issue on May 2, 1989, when he died leaving no Cardinals. There is also evidence that Siri was in fact a heretic, for he participated in the funeral of Giovanni Bapstiste Montini, a notorious heretical anti-pope.
Any appeal to Secret Cardinals goes against the decrees on Papal Elections that Cardinals created in pectore have no validity after the death of the Pope, who appoints them, unless they have been publicly declared to be Cardinals prior to his death.
Objection 13: The election of Linus II in Rome in 1994 should be considered.
Reply: There are two reasons this is invalid:
a. It came after the election of Pope Michael
b. Insufficient effort was made to summon electors.
Objection 14: As the authors recognized the duty to summon all lay Catholics to the election, why did they not use the obvious means of achieving this, for instance by circulating notices to the editors of all sedevacantist periodicals? Why did they not notify all priests listed as sedevacantist in Professor Radko Jansky's Traditionalist Directory? (Question posed by Martin Gwynne in his Briton's Catholic Library Letter No. 7, November, 1990, page 109).
Reply: This is exactly what we did. Over 200 Copies of Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century? went into twenty countries prior to the election and to everyone listed as a sede vacantist EXCEPT THOSE WE PERSONALLY KNEW TO BE HERETICS.
Objection 15: The election of Lucian Pulvermacher should be considered.
Reply: There already is a Pope, so this election cannot produce a Pope.
Lucian Pulvermacher: In 1976 was a member for a short time of the Society of Saint Pius X. In 1985 was warned that his operation violated the laws of the Church. (See Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century? pages 212 to 235, which was written originally to Pulvermacher, proving this claim.)
One copy of Jurisdiction During the Great Apostasy was hand delivered to Pulvermacher, who refused to talk to its author. The author then sent a copy to Pulvermacher with a return receipt to insure it was received. A letter was also sent, informing Pulvermacher that the author intended to spread this position asking him to list any objections. Pulvermacher's reply was totally insufficient and proved nothing.
In 1990 ordered several copies of Will the Catholic Church Survive the Twentieth Century? after seeing a copy.
CONCLUSION: The election of David Bawden as Pope Michael on July 16, 1990 is therefore valid, and he is the Successor of Saint Peter.