Is Pope Francis the Valid Roman Pontiff?

Pope Francis, at Assisi, will teach that non-Catholic Christians, non-Christian believers, and non-believers can be in a state of grace and can go to Heaven without converting to Catholicism, to Christianity or even to belief in God. This teaching is true. It is proven in my book: Forgiveness and Salvation for Everyone. I really think that Catholics will need this book in order to understand the controversial teaching coming out soon at Assisi. It will help you defend the Faith and defend the teaching of the Pope. And I can’t explain the contents of the book in this blog thoroughly enough. Sometimes you just have to read a book. If nothing else, consider the money spent on the book a type of donation to my work here.

Pope Francis may use Papal Infallibility to teach that doctrine. But the other possibility, which is perhaps more likely, is that reaction to the ensuing controversy and outcry from conservatives against this teaching, he will reply with a second document, one that asserts the teaching infallibly.

Pope Francis absolutely will NOT permit the papal accusers to claim that his teaching in All Brothers is heresy. He will not back down. He will not permit the widespread rejection of that teaching and the widespread claim that the teaching is heresy. It is too important.

Then conservative Catholics will have to choose between accepting the teaching or rejecting Pope Francis as Pope. There will be no other options. Some persons will try to claim that the teaching does not meet the conditions for Papal Infallibility. But too many theologians, even conservative ones, will weigh in with the assessment that it does meet the criteria. So that means that either the teaching is true, since it meets the conditions for Papal Infallibility, or Pope Francis is not a valid Pope.

Theories that would make Pope Francis an invalid Roman Pontiff:

1. Invalid Baptism – According to the example of the Matthew Hood, of the archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan, an invalid baptism implies that the Sacraments received subsequently are also invalid, including Confirmation and Orders. Invalid Orders then would imply that Sacraments administered by that person, other than Baptism (and some marriage cases) , are invalid, including ordaining priests and bishops.

So in this theory, if a Pope was not validly baptized, then he was not validly ordained. And in order to be a valid Roman Pontiff, one must meet three conditions: be a validly ordained Bishop, validly elected, and accept the office freely.

If Pope Francis was not validly baptized, then he was not validly ordained, and then he is not a valid Roman Pontiff. To remedy that situation, he would have to be baptized, confirmed, receive first Eucharist and Confession, and receive Orders as Bishop and then be elected by a conclave. But the conclave would be under no obligation to choose Pope Francis. So if he is not validly baptized, he is basically out for good. I don’t think a new conclave would elect him, and if it did, I don’t think he would accept the office.

My Reply: I believe that an invalid Baptism does not prevent Orders from being valid, if the invalidity of the Baptism was unknown at the time of the reception of Orders. So he would still be a valid Bishop, if his baptism was invalid.

2. Invalid Orders – If Pope Francis were not validly raised to the episcopal degree, he would not be a valid Pope. However, this does not have any basis, as Pope Francis was consecrated a Bishop by the conservative Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who was also at the time a Cardinal, Antonio Quarracino.

3. Invalid Election – If Pope Francis is a validly ordained Bishop, then he could be an invalid Pope by an invalid election. One of the three conditions for a person to be a valid Pope, as stated in Universi Dominici Gregis, is that he be validly elected.

There are claims that the election of Pope Francis was manipulated by the St. Gallen Mafia. And one might argue that the manipulation of the election, and the discussion and agreement in advance of whom one would elect would make the election canonically invalid.

The problem, of course, is that all conclaves are subject to such claims, which can never be disproven, placing the validity of all Popes and therefore of all Councils in doubt, and thereby endangering the whole Faith. So I agree with Saint Robert Bellarmine, that once the body of Bishops accepts a Bishop as the Roman Pontiff, he is the valid Pope, even if his election were invalid. The authority to elect each Roman Pontiff resides in the body of Bishops, even though it is expressed by the conclave of Cardinals. And since the Church is indefectible, the body of Bishops can never go astray or lead the faithful astray by following a false or invalid Pope. And this implies, necessarily, as surely as it is true that the Holy Spirit guides the Church, as surely as it is true that the Church is the body of Jesus Christ, Son of God, our Savior, that Pope Francis is a valid Roman Pontiff. It is a dogmatic fact that he is the valid Roman Pontiff, and that dogmatic fact is based on the aforementioned dogmas of the Holy Spirit guiding the Church, the indefectibility of the Church, and that the Church is the body of Christ.

4. Loss of Validity – Another possible claim is that Pope Francis may have been validly elected, and may have been the valid Pope, but that he lost his validity by teaching heresy. This is refuted by my past posts saying that No valid Pope can teach or commit heresy.

The idea here is that Papal Infallibility is unbreakable; whatever is taught is certainly true, without any error — unless the teaching is heresy. In that case, the Pope then becomes cut off from the Church, by reason of the act of heresy, and is no longer a member and therefore no longer the head of the Church. And since he is no longer Pope, his teaching cannot fall under Papal Infallibility.

That claim is erroneous because it makes Papal Infallibility useless. The ability of the successor of Peter to teach infallibly secures the Faith and the path of salvation. If infallible teachings can be heresy, and thereby lose their infallibility, then nothing the Church teaches can be certain. You could make the same claim about the infallible teaching of Ecumenical Councils. The result is that nothing is true, unless the particular believer decides it is true. And then the faithful are not relying upon the Church, but only themselves. And that’s not Catholicism. Or Christianity.

So it cannot be true that a valid Pope can lose his validity, by any means other than valid resignation or death.

5. Removal by an Ecumenical Council – Can Pope Francis, valid or not, be removed by the Bishops? Can they call a Council and judge him guilty of heresy, and thereby remove him? No, such a process is excluded by the teaching of the First Vatican Council. Such a claim is heresy.

“Since the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the Apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that, in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction, recourse may be had to his judgment. The sentence of the Apostolic See (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon. And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman Pontiffs to an Ecumenical Council, as if this were an authority superior to the Roman Pontiff.” [Pastor Aeternus, chapter 3, n. 8; see also Unam Sanctam]

Conclusion

Pope Francis is the valid Roman Pontiff, and there is no possibility that he is an invalid pope or an antipope. This is a dogmatic fact, and it is based upon infallible teachings of the Magisterium, the contrary of which is heresy. Whosoever rejects the validity of Pope Francis commits the sin of formal schism and is automatically excommunicated.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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4 Responses to Is Pope Francis the Valid Roman Pontiff?

  1. RR says:

    Ron, I didn’t know how to suggest an article, so I am just putting it here.
    Please respond to this video about Enneagram in the context of your eschatology

  2. Alex says:

    I notice that pope Francis’ words are being rejected almost instantaneously by the fanatics who call themselves traditional or conservative catholics (and they should not be called that way).
    I haven’t read the encyclical, but I bet they have already labelled it a “one world religion” blueprint.
    The point is, do we accept Jesus’ universal brotherhood and love to be the supreme law that all other laws derive their relevance,… OR…. do we accept a composite of teachings coming throughout centuries, some dating back even to the times of Moses, teachings that are neither dogmas nor 10 commandments nor unchangeable. In the course of history they have been useful, but they are not something that never changes, in fact they have appeared in a particular historical moment relevant for it. They are not unchangeable, they are not dogmas. I could be more detailed, but it is unnecessary to repeat it again and again.

    Why for example when St John Paul II say something, ( gathering representatives of other religions in Assisi, speaking on earth preservation, etc) he is lauded as saint; when pope Benedict repeats it and puts new elements (as I already wrote, pls refer to my previous comment), it is left aside in silence; and when pope Francis repeats it in essence, he is called heretic?

    I wonder, does the world of the super conservatives include any joy for this life, or it is all about making the next batch of kids that somehow should be taken care of later, (sorry for being so explicit but that is the tipping point of those people’s practical theology for life and we all know it and see it in the church), while pretending that any enjoyment of life is forbidden by the Lord? (and where He has said that).

    Does the heaven of the ultra conservatives include any love, or it is some kind of reward for keeping the letter on earth (in their own understanding of that letter), reward that is glory, prestige, golden vestments if you will (as some say they see the souls up there), a higher cloud than the other people’s clouds…you name it, anything but love? And if it is so, is their own version of heaven any longer desirable? Even if it is desirable by them, it is certainly not the Heaven that God created. Because the real Heaven is based on the real Love. Because God is Love. And when the pope and other truthful pastors and living saints teach about Love, it is not heresy, it is exactly what Jesus taught.

  3. Alex says:

    It should be made clear: the Latin mass communities cannot be allowed any further to lead a schismatic sect within the Catholic Church tearing apart people while pretending they are the real Church! There is no place for two Catholic Churches! Do you know that the so called Latin masses in USA follow the old calendar of saints days, and the old readings on Sunday?

    Maybe the new encyclical is a good occasion to make that decisive cut. If abp Vigano or any other else, incl card. Sarah and Muller, refuse to accept the new encyclical, they must be declared excommunicated latae sententiae. I do not owe any allegiance to card. Sarah.

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