The Benevacantists are Catholics who refused to accept the papacy of Pope Francis, and who claimed that Pope Benedict was still the valid Pope AFTER his attempted resignation. They generally hold that either Benedict’s resignation was not valid, or that he resigned only part of the papacy. So when Pope emeritus Benedict died, this created a problem for them. They are not comfortable being sedevacantists (Catholics who reject the current Pope in favor of a belief that the See of Peter is vacant). So a group of Catholics from Rome and environs gathered in Rome, claiming that they had the right to hold a papal conclave to elect the successor to Pope Benedict.
Fra’ Alexis Bugnolo was one of the organizers of this invalid attempted conclave. According to a statement by Fra’ Alexis Bugnolo, the Catholics who gathered in Rome to (supposedly) elect a successor to Pope Benedict have made a choice:
“the results of the election are as follows: Unanimous for Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as successor of St. Peter and successor of Pope Benedict XVI.”
Bugnolo’s statement compares this to the papacy of Pope Vigilius, who was a schismatic, heretic, and antipope, during the time of the valid Pope Sylverius. But when the true Pope died, Rome and the body of Bishops accepted Vigilius as the true Pope, and he was converted from his sins and failures of faith by the grace of God.
It is good that the Benevacantist schismatics, some of them at least, have accepted Pope Francis as the true successor of Peter. However, they remain schismatics and heretics, because they reject the decisions of Pope Francis on doctrine and discipline during the time that Pope emeritus Benedict was alive, and because they falsely claim to have elected Francis in 2023 (when his actual election was in 2013).
How do we know that Benedict’s resignation was valid? It was accepted by the body of Bishops, successors of the Apostles, and so it must be valid. Then the election of Pope Francis in 2013 was also accepted by the body of Bishops, confirming its validity. It is not the case that these papal events (resignation, election) require the formal acceptance of the Bishops to be valid. But rather, the work of the Holy Spirit causes the Bishops to accept these events as valid, to keep the Church both indefectible and Apostolic. If the body of Bishops went astray by claiming that Benedict was still Pope after his resignation, or by refusing to accept the valid Pope Francis, then the Church would no longer be indefectible and Apostolic, which is impossible. Therefore, this acceptance by the Bishops as a body is a witness to the validity of these papal actions: resignation, election.
Ronald L Conte Jr.
This is off topic but I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I’m looking for Magisterial documents that define what Sacred Tradition is. What its role is in the deposit of faith etc. Thanks Ron.
Vatican II, Dei Verbum
What absurd with the conclave of benevacantists! But that could be a dry run for after pope Francis retires.
It is very concerning that they claim the laity and clergy of Rome can elect a Pope.