I must say I love my morning constitutional, which keeps me both up-to-date and "regular" at the same time, as it were. I wash my face and sit for a spell with my phone in hand, checking the Drudge Report, Canon 212, Yahoo science/tech news, and my emails. I suspect some of you have similar daily habits.
This morning I noticed among the ever-nauseating church reports about the latest hierarchical sexual abuse scandal, which I tend to not delve into because they have become so incredibly common, another link to Bishop Rene' Gracida's blog.
He is offering something that to me is both simultaneously very serious but hopeful, a reminder yes of the chaos, but a booster shot in the arm that we still have courageous shepherds, to remind us Christ will preserve the Church. We really need frequent booster shots.
This good, tradition-minded bishop continues to call into question the validity of the 2013 conclave that elected Cardinal Bergoglio to the Chair of St. Peter, because he defends and loves the Church. LINK I myself interviewed Gracida back in May about his argument HERE. I support his call to the Cardinals to consider the questions, but I personally draw no certain conclusion.
So was the 2013 Conclave Invalid? Is Pope Francis truly the Supreme Pontiff?
I am not a sedevacantist, but I think considering the unprecedented doctrinal paradigm shift from this pontificate, and how traditionalists and conservatives are rightly observing how the Francis Revolution is plunging the conciliar crisis to deeper depths (cue the German hierarchy, for example), that these are at least legitimate questions to be discussed.
And, as Bishop Gracida underlines, while we the laity can and should express these concerns to the hierarchy, in the end it is only the Cardinals who have the actual authority to take up our concern and in the end consider a remedy. Or not.
But the historical evidence, as presented by many reliable sources, is that the St. Gallen Group did conspire to elect Bergoglio, and that their machinations at the 2013 conclave did violate conclave legislation.
Cardinal Burke himself, as the de facto leader of the conservative Cardinals, a canon lawyer, and former head of the highest court in the Church (!), seems to be in the most opportune position to consider the canonical facts of what went down. Likely he has by now at least heard about Gracida's argument, if not already given it consideration.
Additional Points in Bishop Gracida's Argument:
Reading his new blog post, presenting what appears to be a formal theological argument for us all to consider, and comparing it to the original thesis he circulated months ago, you can see how he also addresses counter-criticisms.
On the superficial surface, one of the main, indirect objections seems to be basically "Bishop Gracida can't be taken seriously since he is 95 years old," as if being that age necessitates senility. But if you watch more recent interviews of Gracida, and read the logic and organization of his argument, it is clear to me he is demonstrating that he is not senile, but a man of clarity, logic, intellectual fairness, and wisdom. Whether or not he is correct in his conclusions, he is a reliable source as one of the most senior, tradition-minded, and still active prelates in the Church today. He demonstrates that well in his writings.
"Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding
in length of days" - Job 12:12
in length of days" - Job 12:12
He also explains how the conclave legislation of John Paul II renders a conclave's result null and void in several ways, which the 2013 conclave, he argues, violated. It is only the section forbidding simony under pain of excommunication, that allows the result to remain still valid; yet, all other illegal maneuverings invalidate the election.
Bishop Gracida also raises an additional point, that would make the Cardinals' consideration even more serious: if Francis is not a valid pope, his appointed Cardinals are not valid Cardinals, while many of the Cardinals present at the 2013 conclave, who remain valid Cardinals, will soon not be eligible to vote in a future conclave once they reach the age of 80. If Francis' papacy is invalid, then eventually there will be no eligible Cardinals to elect a future pope.
Not a good paradigm, I'd think. Doesn't it seem more sane and less dramatic for Cardinals to sit down right now and consider if we have an anti-pope, vs. facing the possibility of a string of anti-popes and invalid conclaves for decades or centuries to come?
When you have a group of progressivist Cardinals elect a heterodox Cardinal, to advance a new, outright heretical system of reform, is that not exactly why past popes actually drafted legislation to deal with both invalid and illicit papal elections? If the Cardinals cannot actually question the validity of a papal conclave, what was the point of the conclave legislation in the first place?
That is as much as I can say without going above my pay grade as a lay Catholic. This is one bishop, one who by the way celebrates the Ancient and Venerable Rite of the Mass daily, asking the Cardinals to consider a remedy to the current papal crisis, and putting it out there on the Catholic blogosphere for our consideration. Fair enough?
In the meantime, we have cause for hope that the good, true, and beautiful is still protected within the human element of the Church. We have good bishops like Bishop Gracida, Schneider, Burke, etc. We have priestly fraternities, monasteries, convents, parishes, and homes keeping the traditional Faith, with a special devotion to preserving our Sacred Tradition.
The Comment section is open.