Refutation of an article promoting the Cassiciacum thesis.

The original article and quotations derived from it are written in blue; quotations from other sources in green; my commentary in black.

The material Papacy

Prefatory notionsI. Concerning Authority Taken Concretely, i.e. Concerning a Pope or King

1. Authority is able to be taken either in its formal concept or concretely. Lest the terms be confused, one must first distinguish between authority considered in itself, for example, the very civil or papal power, and authority considered in the concrete, for example, a king or pope.

2. Authority taken concretely consists in a composite which arises from the conjunction of two parts, namely matter and form, by analogy to a substantial thing. Prime matter is the prime subject of each thing, out of which, since it is in it, it becomes something and not by accident. Substantial form is primary act constituting an unum per se together with prime matter, or that by which something is constituted in a certain mode of being. The material cause is that abloom which something is made.

The formal cause is that which determines matter and in a determined way perfects it. Accidental form is analogous to substantial form inasmuch as the substance in which the accident inheres becomes material with regard to accidental form which perfects it. Substantial form gives esse simpliciter; accidental form however, does not give esse simpliciter, but esse tale.

In order that the compositum (in this case the king or pope) be produced, it is necessary that the form be received in matter that is apt and disposed to receiving the form. The reason is that the parts cannot be joined together and form a compositum, unless they should have a proportion between them. St. Thomas says: “There is due proportion of matter to form in two ways: through a natural order of matter to form, and by the removal of an impediment.”

Wherefore it is evident that authority taken concretely (e.g., king or pope) is constituted of matter, which is a man, and the form which consists in the faculty of legislating by which someone is constituted the superior of subjects. But not just any man is disposed to receive such an accidental form, but only he who has all the required perfections to receive the accidental form of authority. If the natural order of the matter to the form should be lacking, or if there should be an impediment, the matter and the form cannot be joined.

For example, a child or insane person, although he be a man and therefore disposed by natural order to authority, is not disposed to receiving authority because of an impediment, because he needs an intellectual disposition for the purpose of promoting the common good. Similarly he who is not a citizen of a certain country cannot be its head, because it is impossible that he who is not a member of the body be its head. Similarly if a lay person or a mere priest elected to the papacy should refuse episcopal consecration, he cannot receive authority, since he lacks the necessary perfection for the purpose of promoting the common good of the Church.

Therefore it is clear that certain dispositions or accidental forms which perfect the man are necessary in order that a man become the proximate matter for the purpose of receiving accidental form.

II. Authority Taken Formally

3. Theologians and philosophers commonly define authority from the notion of law. The common definition of law is therefore the faculty of legislating. He who enjoys authority has the right of obliging subjects to do or to avoid something. Therefore the notion of authority must be taken from the notion of law, inasmuch as the faculty takes its specification from its act and object.

4. Notion of law according to St. Thomas. Law is defined by St. Thomas as an order of reason for the common good, promulgated by him who has care of the community

The law belongs to that which is a principle of human acts, because it is their rule and measure. Now just as reason is a principle of human acts, so in reason itself there is something which is the principle with respect of all the rest: wherefore to this principle chiefly and mainly law must needs be referred. —Now the first principle in practical matters, which are the object of the practical reason, is the last end: and the last end of human life is bliss or happiness, as stated above. Consequently the law must needs regard principally the relation to happiness. Moreover, since every part is ordained to the whole, as imperfect to perfect, and since one man is a part of the perfect community, the law must needs regard properly the relationship to universal happiness. Wherefore the Philosopher, in the above definition of legal matters mentions both happiness and the body politic: for he says that we call those legal matters just, which are adapted to produce and preserve happiness and its parts for the body politic: since the state is a perfect community, as he says in Polit. i. 1.

Now in every genus, that which belongs to it chiefly is the principle of the other, and the others belong to that genus in subordination to that thing: thus fire, which is chief among hot things, is the cause of heat in mixed bodies, and these are said to be hot inasmuch as they have a share of fire. Consequently since the law is chiefly ordained to the common good, any other precept in regard to some individual work, must needs be devoid of the nature of a law, save insofar as it regards the common good.

The end of law is the common good.

Law is ordained to the common good.

On the other hand, laws may be unjust in two ways: first, be being contrary to human good…and these are acts of violence more than laws. .. . Laws may be unjust in another way by being contrary to the divine good.

Therefore according to Saint Thomas and the scholastics in general, law has an essential order to the common good, in such a way that if this order ceases, the obliging force of law would also cease, as well as the very name of law.

5. Definition of authority. Authority is a moral faculty in that person, whether individual or collective, who has care of the community, of making, promulgating and executing particular ordinances which are either necessary or useful for the purpose of promoting the common good. This definition agrees with the definitions of nearly all scholastics. Zigliara defines authority in this way: the power or the faculty or the right of governing the republic. Billot: we call political power that by which a people is ruled for the purpose of tranquillity and order. Meyer: the right of directing the civil society toward its end. Liberatore: the right of governing the republic. Taparelli: I call authority a right to make obligatory that which is only good. Schiffini: The right of obliging the members of a state for the purpose of pursuing the end of the same. Cathrein: the right of obliging the members of society in order that they cooperate for the common good by their acts.

From what has been said, it follows that authority thus defined must be placed in the genus of an operative habit. Therefore inasmuch as it is a habit, it takes its species from its proper act and formal object. The primary and formal object, however, of the habit of authority is the making, promulgation and execution of laws. The formal object of law, however, is the promotion of the common good. It follows that he who enjoys authority must have the habitual intention of promoting the common good, as otherwise he cannot have authority. He must have a habitual intention, because, by its very nature, civil or ecclesiastical authority is a permanent right, and not merely transitory or per modum actus, which is found, for example, in a priest without habitual jurisdiction, but who absolves a dying person. The intention of promoting the common good, furthermore, must be objective and not merely subjective. In other words, it is not sufficient that he who holds authority intend in his will the common good of the community, but rather the good which he intends must be the true and objective common good. The reason is that law is defined as an order of reason for the common good. Therefore in order that the will of the superior oblige in conscience, it is necessary that he objectively intend the common good. Otherwise the definition of law is not fulfilled. For which reason a law which contradicts a superior law does not oblige in conscience; it is an evil law, which all must resist, and in such a case the superior has neither the authority nor the right to make such a law.

6. Authority is essentially ordered to the common good. In founding a society, men come together for the purpose of doing one thing in common.; This “one thing to be done” is nothing else than the common good of society. And because the good is one, it is natural and therefore necessary that the multitude of men who join themselves into one society designate one person—whether physical or moral—who has care of the whole community in order that he lead the whole community to its proper ends which is the common good.

Royal power—and therefore the king—are defined by the faculty of making a law, which in turn is defined by its order to the common good. Authority, therefore, is essentially ordered to the common good by means of the law, the making of which is the formal object of authority.

7. All authority comes from God. All authority is founded in the authority of God, in the very Providence of God, by which He orders and promotes all things to their ends infallibly. This faculty of making law in the king is a mere participation in the very Providence of God and in the eternal law by which all things are ruled.

The making of law by the king is a mere participation in the very divine action of the making of the eternal law, from which human law derives its power of obliging. The obedience which is given and which is owed to human law is indirectly an obedience to God Himself from whom the law receives its power of obliging. The primary foundation, therefore, of the relation king-subject is the very Providence of God to which all obedience is owed inasmuch as He is the Creator and Supreme Good and Ultimate End of all creatures.

This relation king-subject comes from God, and not from the community. Nevertheless, it requires that the community designate legally, i.e., in the name of the whole community, someone to receive the royal power.

8. Royal power produces mutual relations. The power of making law, which is an active potency, is that by which someone is constituted a king. Likewise the obligation of obeying the law is that by which someone is constituted a subject. The king or possessor of royal power is related to the whole community as the promoter of the common good. The whole community is in turn related to the promoter of the common good as the promoted to good. The king has the right of making law because God infuses in him the right of promoting the community to the common good. The subjects have the obligation of obeying because God infuses in them the duty of obeying the legislator. Therefore the foundation of the relation king-subject is primarily the very Omnipotence and Providence of God, and secondarily, the infusion of royal power into the king and the corresponding duty into the subjects. He therefore becomes king who (1) receives the legal designation from the whole community to promote the common good, and (2) receives an infusion of authority from God.

Since, therefore, society generates the king, inasmuch as it designates someone to promote the common good of the whole community, two mutual relations are effected, just as in natural generation: on the one hand a king is generated who is constituted king by the relation of authority towards his subjects, and on the other hand subjects are generated who are constituted as subjects by their relation of subjection to the king. Because the king is generated only in order to the common good, it follows that the relations of authority and of subjection endure only inasmuch as the order to the common good endures, so that, if you take away the order to the common good, you take away the relation. Therefore, he who intends to promulgate error or harmful teachings cannot be a true pope, because the good of the truth in the Faith and in morals is essential to the mission of the Church conferred on her by Christ.

9. Conditions for receiving royal authority. Let us recall the saying of St. Thomas concerning the necessity of proportion between matter and form, which must be formed into one composite: “Due proportion of matter to form happens in two ways, namely by the natural order of matter to form, and by the removal of an impediment.” Royal power, therefore, cannot be received, even in him who has a legal designation, unless there is a natural order of matter to form, and impediment is absent. Some disproportion is not able to be removed, namely that which arises from physical impediments, but some is able to be removed, namely that which arises from moral impediments. Through disproportion of physical order, therefore, insane people and women are not able to accept papal authority because they are physically impeded from receiving the power. In these cases, there is a permanent disproportion, and they are not even capable of a valid designation. Through an impediment of the moral order, however, they cannot receive papal power who posit a certain moral obstacle, both voluntary and removable, for example, the refusal of episcopal consecration, or the intention of teaching errors or of promulgating harmful general disciplines, or the refusal of baptism in the case of the election of a catechumen (for example, St. Ambrose, elected to the episcopal see of Milan) These are capable of a valid designation because the impediment is removable, but the authority cannot be infused by God until the impediment is removed. The reason is that they are not capable of promoting the common good to the extent that they do not remove the obstacle. And because the impediment is moral and voluntary, the obstacle is reduced to an absence of the intention of promoting the common good. God, therefore, who is Subsistent Good, is not able to infuse power in him who posits a voluntary impediment toward the promotion of the common good.

10. Review. Authority taken concretely consists in the conjunction of two parts, namely matter and form, by analogy to a substantial thing. The material part of authority is the legal designation of some man by the whole community to receive royal power. The formal part of authority consists in the faculty of making law. The faculty or right is essentially ordered to the common good, by means of the law, by which it is measured as its formal object in such a way that, if you take away the order to the common good, you take away the faculty.

All authority comes from God, whose Omnipotence and Providence are the primary foundation of the relation king-subject. Authority is infused immediately by God into him who possesses legal designation provided that there be present a natural order to receiving the form and that impediment be absent. The condition, therefore, of accepting the form of authority from God, and indeed a condition sine qua non, is the intention of promoting the common good in him who is designated to receive the care of the whole community.

III. Authority Taken Materially, or the Legal Designation to Receive Royal Power

11. Who legitimately rules, and who illegitimately? Authority inasmuch as it is a power or active faculty is a habit and therefore a predicamental accident which cannot exist unless it is received in a subject. But in what subject? In other words, the question now is: who legitimately rules, and who illegitimately rules?

The response is that he legitimately rules who is legitimately elected by society to receive authority and who does not have an impediment to receive the authority. He rules illegitimately who, illegitimately, that is, without a legal designation, has taken on authority, or if he should be validly designated, has an impediment to receiving authority.

In civil society, the selection of the subject of authority pertains, according to the common opinion, to the whole community. According to the Thomists in general, the whole community has the right of instituting or electing the form of government, as well as the subject who shall receive the authority, but the community does not transfer, as others have said, notably Suarez, the very authority itself. The community merely proposes a subject of authority; God, however, gives authority. The conjunction of the two makes authority in the concrete, or a king.

The community as such is not able to be the subject of authority; authority comes forth from God. The designation, however, of the subject of authority comes from the whole community, at least implicitly. Even in the case of hereditary monarchies, the people, at least implicitly, must consent to the monarchical and hereditary system in order that the king legitimately accept authority.

These questions, however, concerning the constitution of the civil government do not pertain to us directly, because the constitution of the Church comes forth immutably from Christ Himself, nor does it depend in any way on the consent or approbation of the faithful. Furthermore the essential elements of the civil government arise from the natural law, namely the end of society, the form of government, the manner of selecting the subject of authority; the essential elements of the constitution of the Church are set down by divine disposition. Christ instituted the Church; He called the Apostles and established them in a hierarchy. He gave to the Church its end, as well as the supernatural means to attain this end. He instituted a monarchical form of government, in such a way that the constitution of the Church in no way comes forth from inferiors, but from the Very authority of Christ. For not even the pope, who vicariously enjoys the authority of Christ, is able to change the divine constitution of the Church.

12. The matter of authority. From what has been said, the reader is easily able to see that authority taken concretely has both a formal part and a material part. The formal part of authority is the very habit or moral faculty or right of making a law. In other words it is the papacy itself. The material or potential part of authority is the very man who receives this right of making a law. Authority in the concrete, namely the pope or king, arises out of the conjunction of these two elements. In order that some king or superior legitimately rule, it is necessary that he who receives the authority be designated legally to receive this power, that is, according to the norms set down either by the Church or by the civil government. Otherwise he who proclaims himself pope or king does not legitimately rule, but rules by violence, because the community is not bound to accept him who is not legally elected as the legitimate subject of authority. He who therefore through violence enters into the see of authority, does not truly receive authority, because he is not truly disposed to receiving the act or form of authority. Election or legal designation, even in the case of legitimate birth in a hereditary monarchy, perfects the subject so that he becomes the ultimate matter of authority, that is, it places him in the ultimate disposition of receiving the perfection of authority. It is analogous to natural generation, where the parents do not give the human form, that is the soul, but the ultimate disposition of the matter. God gives the soul, and the conjunction of matter and form make one thing simpliciter, namely a man. If, however, the matter is in some way indisposed, the form is not infused, or if it is infused for a time, the fetus dies, because the matter is not able to bear the soul because of an imperfection.

Likewise the act of authority is not able to be received except in a subject legally designated. In the civil government, because it depends on the natural law, it is easy that a certain king, who by violence has entered into the place of authority, can become the true and legitimate king because of an implicit approbation of the people. The same principle is not found in the Church, however, since the faithful do not possess by natural law the right of designating the subject of papal authority. It is necessary, therefore, that he who receives the papacy be designated according to the existing norms of the time of the vacancy of the see, that is, he must be designated by the electors who have the legal right to elect a pope.

13. The duration of designation to receive papal jurisdiction. The designation to office endures until (1) the death of the subject; (2) the voluntary refusal or resignation of the subject; (3) the removal of the designation from the subject by him who has the right to do so.

There is no other way of losing the designation. Although there is no authority which is able to judge the pope, nevertheless the body of electors is able to take away from him the designation. For the designation comes from God only mediately, but immediately from the electors. For which reason, it is not beyond the rights of the electors of the pope to ascertain the fact of the loss of jurisdiction in an elected pope, or also his lack of disposition to receiving papal authority. For example, the electors must ascertain the death of the pope before they are able to proceed to the election of a new pope. Similarly, if the pope should fall into insanity, the electors would have to ascertain the insanity, and therefore the loss of the papal power, and having ascertained the fact, would be able to proceed to an election. Similarly if a lay person were elected, but refused episcopal consecration, the electors would have to ascertain his lack of disposition to receiving power, and, having ascertained this fact, would be able to proceed to an election. Likewise in the case of someone elected to the papacy, or even of him who has already accepted papal jurisdiction, if he should fall into heresy, or worse, if he should promulgate heresy and heretical and sacrilegious disciplines in the name of the Church, the electors would be able to and would have to ascertain this fact of lack of disposition of the elected person to receiving authority, or to retaining authority, and having ascertained this fact, proceed to a new election.

14. The duration of the right of designating. The duration of the right of designating is similar to the designation itself, that is, it is able to be lost only by death, renunciation, or legal removal. In the case of the electors of the pope, only he who has the right of nominating the electors (i.e., a pope at least materially) has the right of removing them legally. But how can a non-pope, or a pope merely materially remove or nominate legally electors of the Roman Pontiff?. In other words, how can conclaves after Vatican II be considered legitimate, when the electors are themselves heretics, stripped of jurisdiction, or named by heretics who are stripped of jurisdiction?

The response is that authority (taken concretely) has a double end, of which one is the making of law, and other is of nominating subjects for the purpose of receiving authority. Just as authority itself has a “body” and “soul” or matter and form, of which the first is designation to receive jurisdiction, and the latter the jurisdiction itself, likewise the object of authority is twofold. The first and indeed the principal object or end of authority is to direct the community to good, by means of making laws, which pertains to the soul of authority. The second and indeed secondary (because it is ordered to the first) is to nominate subjects of authority, which pertains to the body of authority, in order that the community continue through time. For example if Saint Peter had ruled the Church, but had not provided for his legitimate succession, he would have seriously, even mortally harmed the good of the Church, because it not sufficient for a good government that someone merely make laws, but it is necessary that he supply a legitimate succession to sees of authority.

These two objects of authority are really distinct. The reason is that the act of designation to receive an office is not the making of a law. To designate someone to an office is merely to transfer a right or title. It does not regard the end of society. No obedience is owed to designation, as to law, but only recognition. But if the objects are really distinct, then the faculties which are ordered to the objects are also really distinct. Therefore the faculty of designating is really distinct from the faculty of making law. Therefore it is possible that even if someone did not enjoy the faculty of making law, that is, authority taken properly and formally, he would be able nevertheless to enjoy the faculty of designating, to the extent that he intends the objective good of legal succession to sees of authority. Furthermore, as has been said above, the faculty of designating comes from the Church; the faculty of making law comes from God. The Church is able to give the faculty of designating, and at the same time, however, God may not give the faculty of making law because of an impediment.

But the electors of the pope, even those who adhere to Vatican II, intend to designate someone legally to receive the papacy. Likewise Paul VI and John Paul II, although popes merely materially, intend to nominate subjects to have the faculty or right of designating a pope when they nominate cardinals. Therefore the conclaves, even those after the Second Vatican Council, intend the good of succession to the papal see objectively, and those who are elected to this see objectively intend the good of naming electors of the pope. This merely material continuity of authority is able to indefinitely continue, to the extent that the conclaves intend to elect a pope and that those elected intend to nominate electors.

Nor is designation rendered null because of the heresy either of the electors or of the person elected. The reason is that designation in itself does not regard the disposition or lack of disposition of the subject. The requirements of authority, that is, of the right to make law, regard the disposition or lack of disposition of the subject. In other words, the matter becomes incapable of receiving authority because of the requirements of the form, that is, of authority, not however of the requirements of designation. For example, a lay person, who is elected to the papacy, must, in order that he validly receive the authority, have the intention of receiving episcopal consecration, and if this should be absent, he would remain validly designated, but incapable of accepting authority because of his indisposition with regard to the form, but not with regard to the designation. Such a person would be a pope materially until he would intend to receive episcopal consecration. The designation is valid; the requirement of authority renders the subject invalid until he becomes matter in the ultimate disposition to receive authority.

Therefore he who is designated to the papacy, even if he does not receive authority, because of an obstacle either of heresy or of refusal of episcopal consecration or for any other reason, nevertheless he is able to nominate others to receive authority, (e.g., bishops) and even electors of the pope, because all these acts pertain merely to the continuation of the material part of authority, and do not involve jurisdiction, because in nomination no law is made. Nomination or designation is merely a preparation, and remote indeed, for the making of law. To the extent that the designate to authority retains the intention of continuing the material part of the hierarchy, he validly accepts this non-legislative power. Likewise electors who are named by merely material popes make a legal designation when they elect someone for the purpose of receiving the papacy, because in this act no law is made, and therefore the electors need no jurisdiction, that is, no right of making law, but merely the right of active voice in order that they validly and legally designate.

An analogy is able to be taken from the human soul. The soul is ordered to acts specifically diverse, e.g., acts of the vegetative life, the sensitive life, and the rational life. It is possible, however, because of the inaptitude or indisposition of the matter, (for example, because of a serious wound to the head), that the soul posit only vegetative acts, in such a way that the body remains alive and in potency to superior acts, when the matter becomes disposed. If, however, the matter becomes completely indisposed, to sustaining life, even vegetative, death occurs. Likewise, analogically the Church is able to sustain a “vegetative life” of the hierarchy, and at the same time not sustain a “legislative life,” or a life of pursuing the ends of the Church, (at least on the part of the hierarchy). This state of affairs comes forth not because of the defect of Christ, but because of the defect of men who are defectible, and who are designated to receive authority. It is permitted by Christ the Head of the Church, and is “wondrous in our eyes.” However, all evil permitted by God leads to good.

The furtherance of ends of the Church is accomplished by priests and by bishops who have not fallen into heresy, with a jurisdiction which is not habitual but merely transitory, when they posit sacramental acts.

15. The right of electing is not jurisdiction or authority. The right of electing the person to receive authority is not an authority or jurisdiction, because those who have this right, do not necessarily have the right of making a law. For example, citizens in a republic have the right of electing; nevertheless they are not able to make a law, but only nominate him who should receive the authority. The object of the right of electing is not the making of law, but merely the designation of the person. Therefore the right of electing endures to the same extent that the habitual intention of designating a person to receive authority endures, or until this right should be taken away by authority. The right of electing is ordered to an act specifically distinct from that to which jurisdiction or authority is ordered. Authority is ordered to making laws which are orders for promoting the proper ends of the very society. The right of electing, however, is not ordered directly to promoting the proper ends of society, but only to supplying an apt subject to receive this authority. The object of the one is simpliciter diverse from the other, and the right of electing in no way implies in its formal concept the possession of the right to make a law, just as election in itself does not imply in its formal concept the possession of authority. It is true in the concrete that these two things often coincide in the same person, for example, in a cardinal or in a pope. But not necessarily do these two accidents (either the right of electing and the right of making a law or election and the possession of authority) inhere in the same person, because the object of each is diverse. As has been said above, the object of the right of electing is the designation of the person who should receive authority, and the object of the right of making a law is the law itself, or the order of reason for the purpose of promoting the common good. The act or exercise of the right of electing is election; the act or exercise of the right to make a law is legislation.

Because these rights have objects which are simpliciter diverse, they are two moral faculties simpliciter diverse. This distinction solves the difficulty which is objected by many, that it is impossible that a conclave which is composed of heretical cardinals and therefore of those deprived of jurisdiction, should be capable of electing him who is ordered to receiving the fullness of jurisdiction.

16. The right of making a law comes immediately from God; the right of designating comes mediately only from God, but immediately from the Church. The right of making a law, i.e., the right of teaching, ruling, and sanctifying the Church comes from God. It is authority properly so-called, authority indeed of Christ, in which the pope participates vicariously. The right, however, of designating him who should receive authority comes mediately from God but immediately from the Church. It is clear: when the pope dies, the right of designating the successor does not die with him. The legal possessor of this right of designating is the body of electors or conclave. For which reason, the conclave or the body of electors is able to communicate the right of designating even to a material pope, that is, to him who is designated for the papacy, but without papal authority, in such a way that this material pope can nominate others legally, and thus perpetually sustain the legal body of electors. In other words, all these things are in the line of materiality. This principle is extremely important because those who criticize the thesis do not understand how he who does not have papal authority can nominate cardinals or electors who are able to legally and legitimately elect him who ought to accept authority. They falsely think that the right of designating the electors is the right of legislating, and they compose those things which ought to be divided.

This right of designating, which is found in Paul VI or in John Paul II does not constitute them as popes, because they lack authority or the right of making law. Therefore they are not popes except materially. They can, nevertheless, designate electors and even bishops for the purpose of succeeding to sees of authority, and even validly change the rules of election, especially if these changes have been accepted by the conclave.

IV. The Conjuction of the Two Parts of Authority

17. Vacantis Apostolica Sedis of Pius XII. This document declares:

“After the election has been done according to the canonical norms, and the Secretary of the Sacred College, the Prefect of the Apostolic Ceremonies, and two Masters of Ceremonies have been summoned into the hall of the Conclave by the most recent Cardinal Dean, the consent of the elect is sought by the Cardinal Dean in the name of the entire Sacred College by these words: Do you accept the canonically accomplished election of yourself to the papacy? When this consent is given within the limit, whatever is necessary, to be determined by the prudent judgment of the Cardinals by a majority of votes, immediately the elect is the true pope, and he acquires in act the full and absolute jurisdiction over the whole world and may exercise it.”

It is therefore clear that once the consent to the election is given, the elect becomes the pope. The conjunction, therefore, of the matter and the form of the papacy is immediate. How, therefore, can someone who has given his consent remain a pope only materially? Answer: because matter and form cannot be united unless the matter has due proportion to the form, which happens in two ways, namely through the natural order of matter to form, and by the removal of any impediment.

He therefore who has been legally elected to the papacy receives whatever authority he is capable of, i.e., to which he does not posit an impediment. Therefore it is possible that someone is capable of receiving the right of designating which regards legitimate succession and the permanence of the corporeal life of the Church, but at the same time not accept authority properly so-called, that is, the right of making a law, which regards legislation and the government of the Church.

But as we saw above, the intention of promulgating errors or harmful disciplines posits an impediment in him who is elected to receive the form of authority, who, even if he should consent to the election, would remain an elect only until he should remove the impediment.

 

The first section is a definition of authority, which is followed by an explanation of royal authority, which is useless for our purposes, as royal authority is not strictly analogous to papal authority.

This is followed by a section on legitimate and illegitimate authority.

The response is that he legitimately rules who is legitimately elected by society to receive authority and who does not have an impediment to receive the authority. He rules illegitimately who, illegitimately, that is, without a legal designation, has taken on authority, or if he should be validly designated, has an impediment to receiving authority.

The above quotation is succeeded by another digression into royal authority, however, as the author himself admits:

These questions, however, concerning the constitution of the civil government do not pertain to us directly, because the constitution of the Church comes forth immutably from Christ Himself, nor does it depend in any way on the consent or approbation of the faithful. Furthermore the essential elements of the civil government arise from the natural law, namely the end of society, the form of government, the manner of selecting the subject of authority; the essential elements of the constitution of the Church are set down by divine disposition. Christ instituted the Church; He called the Apostles and established them in a hierarchy. He gave to the Church its end, as well as the supernatural means to attain this end. He instituted a monarchical form of government, in such a way that the constitution of the Church in no way comes forth from inferiors, but from the Very authority of Christ. For not even the pope, who vicariously enjoys the authority of Christ, is able to change the divine constitution of the Church.

Up until this point, I have little to object to. However, the author then states:

The matter of authority. From what has been said, the reader is easily able to see that authority taken concretely has both a formal part and a material part. The formal part of authority is the very habit or moral faculty or right of making a law. In other words it is the papacy itself. The material or potential part of authority is the very man who receives this right of making a law. Authority in the concrete, namely the pope or king, arises out of the conjunction of these two elements. In order that some king or superior legitimately rule, it is necessary that he who receives the authority be designated legally to receive this power, that is, according to the norms set down either by the Church or by the civil government. Otherwise he who proclaims himself pope or king does not legitimately rule, but rules by violence, because the community is not bound to accept him who is not legally elected as the legitimate subject of authority. He who therefore through violence enters into the see of authority, does not truly receive authority, because he is not truly disposed to receiving the act or form of authority. Election or legal designation, even in the case of legitimate birth in a hereditary monarchy, perfects the subject so that he becomes the ultimate matter of authority, that is, it places him in the ultimate disposition of receiving the perfection of authority. It is analogous to natural generation, where the parents do not give the human form, that is the soul, but the ultimate disposition of the matter. God gives the soul, and the conjunction of matter and form make one thing simpliciter, namely a man. If, however, the matter is in some way indisposed, the form is not infused, or if it is infused for a time, the fetus dies, because the matter is not able to bear the soul because of an imperfection.

The assertion of the author is that if the impediments to a papal rule were to be eliminated, he would be a valid pope. According to him, the subject would have to be eligible (for our purposes, a Catholic who has not fallen into any error or heresy) and the election that elevated him to his position must be valid (for our purposes, the College of Cardinals would have to be valid). So, being that we could not somehow make all the cardinals that elected Francis valid, Francis would not become pope if he repudiates his error.

Now some would dispute that the cardinals are invalid. I answer this by referencing the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which states that a cardinal must be at least 25 years old, and must be validly ordained a priest. Being that the New Rite of Ordination is invalid, or, at the very least, doubtfully valid, we cannot view the cardinals as holding their office validly and licitly.

Moreover, the author’s assertion that a false pope who abjured his heresy would automatically become pope is false, as Cum ex clearly demonstrates.

“Further, if ever it should appear that any bishop (even one acting as an archbishop, patriarch or primate), or a cardinal of the Roman Church, or a legate (as mentioned above), or even the Roman Pontiff (whether prior to his promotion to cardinal, or prior to his election as Roman Pontiff), has beforehand deviated from the Catholic faith or fallen into any heresy, We enact, decree, determine and define:

— “Such promotion or election in and of itself, even with the agreement and unanimous consent of all the cardinals, shall be null, legally invalid and void.

— “It shall not be possible for such a promotion or election to be deemed valid or to be valid, neither through reception of office, consecration, subsequent administration, or possession, nor even through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff himself, together with the veneration and obedience accorded him by all.

— “Such promotion or election, shall not through any lapse of tune in the foregoing situation, be considered even partially legitimate in any way . . .

— “Each and all of the words, as acts, laws, appointments of those so promoted or elected —and indeed, whatsoever flows therefrom — shall be lacking in force, and shall grant no stability and legal power to anyone whatsoever.

— “Those so promoted or elected, by that very fact and without the need to make any further declaration, shall be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power.”

 

Pope Paul IV clearly states that a lapse of the heresy would not render the false pope’s claim valid.

The author concludes his article with the following.

It is therefore clear that once the consent to the election is given, the elect becomes the pope. The conjunction, therefore, of the matter and the form of the papacy is immediate. How, therefore, can someone who has given his consent remain a pope only materially? Answer: because matter and form cannot be united unless the matter has due proportion to the form, which happens in two ways, namely through the natural order of matter to form, and by the removal of any impediment.

He therefore who has been legally elected to the papacy receives whatever authority he is capable of, i.e., to which he does not posit an impediment. Therefore it is possible that someone is capable of receiving the right of designating which regards legitimate succession and the permanence of the corporeal life of the Church, but at the same time not accept authority properly so-called, that is, the right of making a law, which regards legislation and the government of the Church.

But as we saw above, the intention of promulgating errors or harmful disciplines posits an impediment in him who is elected to receive the form of authority, who, even if he should consent to the election, would remain an elect only until he should remove the impediment.

 

But once again, he ignores the very basic fact that the subject must be eligible at the time of the election. If the subject is a false pope at the beginning of his reign, but later abjures his error, he would not become pope. He being eligible later on does not change the situation in the slightest. The author has not provided a single citation to support his claim, and does not even bother to attempt a refutation of Cum ex. The only quotation he presents comes at the end of the article, and though it was authored by Pius XII, it has little relevance to the question at hand.

After the election has been done according to the canonical norms, and the Secretary of the Sacred College, the Prefect of the Apostolic Ceremonies, and two Masters of Ceremonies have been summoned into the hall of the Conclave by the most recent Cardinal Dean, the consent of the elect is sought by the Cardinal Dean in the name of the entire Sacred College by these words: Do you accept the canonically accomplished election of yourself to the papacy? When this consent is given within the limit, whatever is necessary, to be determined by the prudent judgment of the Cardinals by a majority of votes, immediately the elect is the true pope, and he acquires in act the full and absolute jurisdiction over the whole world and may exercise it.

It goes without saying that Pius XII did not and could not dispense with divine law when issuing this document, and it is divine law that a heretic could not become pope, and that a conclave which attempted to elevate a public heretic to the papacy would be invalid.

Coronata — Institutions Juris Canonici, 1950
“Appointment to the Office of the Primacy.
1. What is required by divine law for this appointment . . . Also required for validity is that the one elected be a member of the Church; hence, heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are excluded. . . ”

Marato — Institutions Juris Canonici, 1921

“Heretics and schismatics are barred from the Supreme Pontificate by the Divine Law itself, because, although by divine law they are not considered incapable of participating in a certain type of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, nevertheless, they must certainly be regarded as excluded from occupying the throne of the Apostolic See, which is the infallible teacher of the truth of the faith and the center of ecclesiastical unity.”

Billot — De Ecclesia, 1927

“Given, therefore, the hypothesis of a pope who would become notoriously heretical, one must concede without hesitation that he would by that very fact lose the pontifical power, insofar as, having become an unbeliever, he would by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church.”

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1599 Book of Hours

A member of the Te Deum forum is working on a 1599 Breviary.  As of now it includs the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Office of the Holy Ghost, the Office of the Holy Cross, and the Office of the Dead.  It is still incomplete, and as of yet I am unsure what additions to it the author will be making, but nevertheless the link is here.

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