“Francis was never pope? Call me unpersuaded.” By Dr. Ed Peters

by Steve Ray on January 20, 2020

Article below by Canon Lawyer, Dr. Ed Peters:

(Steve Ray here: It is amazing how many people today are rejecting the papacy of Pope Francis, claiming that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is really the pope. It comes up on my Twitter and Facebook accounts almost daily. Even though Canon Lawyer Ed Peters wrote his legal opinion in 2017, it is just as apropos now, maybe even more.

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 8.42.30 AMThe publication of the new Ignatius Press book has brought out speculations and challenges from every quarter. I support Ignatius Press and Cardinal Sarah 100% in the truth of their claims regarding the co-authorship of the book between Sarah and Benedict and their decision to publish it. But this again raises the question for many about the validity of Francis’ papacy and the chaos in the Vatican.


(Peters’ opening Note: I am giving this one shot. If it sways some adherents of the ‘Francis-was-never-pope’ group, great; but if it only reassures observers who, regardless of what they think about how Francis is governing, are disquieted by the suggestion that his papacy itself is a chimera, that satisfies me as well.)

Two small but persistent arguments attack the very foundation of Francis’ papacy: first, Benedict XVI’s resignation was invalid (take your pick as to reasons why, but mostly because of pressure allegedly brought on Benedict, as supposedly evidenced by his resignation wording), so there was no vacant Holy See to fill, and so a conclave could not elect a pope; or, second, various irregularities were committed before or during the conclave itself, so the election of Francis was invalid.

20130313nw543_0Both sets of arguments are offered in inexcusable ignorance of Canon 10 (which sets a high standard indeed for declaring any kind of ecclesiastical acts invalid, etc.), but the arguments alleging the invalidity of Benedict’s resignation are so vacuous that no time will be spent refuting them here.

On the other hand, some (okay, basically one) of the claims that irregularities allegedly committed in the conclave itself resulted in an invalid election do have a modicum of plausibility and deserve at least a brief hearing. So here goes.

For the whole article, click HERE.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Vito January 20, 2020 at 7:57 AM

I never questioned the papacy of Pope Francis, I questioned the wisdom of those who elected him.

STEVE RAY HERE: Well said.

Sandi January 20, 2020 at 8:56 AM

It’s too bad that it isn’t true. This Pope is a disaster who needs to resign. Unfortunately, he has stacked the deck of cardinals so that someone as bad or worse will probably be the next pope. This pope is more concerned with the United Nations agenda, one world government, love of socialism/communism, the environment and being lax on homosexuality than he is on saving souls. I don’t pray for his intentions anymore — I pray for him.

John C January 20, 2020 at 8:29 PM

I count Benedict XVI among the greatest thinkers in Christian history. If I counted them on my fingers and toes he would be counted among them. Francis is Pope. Good or bad the Church will survive as you know. Benedict retired for reasons he felt necessary. While I respect that decision it has its consequences, like people asking Francis to retire. Even opponents of Benedict wouldn’t have suggested that action. What the Church needs is a teacher like Benedict with the charisma of Francis. We may see that combination in the future. I pray for it. For now I choose to teach those closest to me rather than further confuse the Church through attacks on Francis. The Church doesn’t even believe the Teachings on the Eucharist. It is the biggest and only fish we need to fry. I hope to go on a Holy Lamd tour with you someday, Mr. Ray! I’ve learned much from you! Thank you for your testimony and passion for the Lord and His Church!

STEVE RAY HERE: Thanks John. Well said!

Thomas M Govern January 20, 2020 at 10:52 PM

Our church has survived many worse episodes than those of today! I am not even sure if those of today are really that bad. Sometimes, introducing controversy is the thing that brings people to new levels. Roberts comment on questioning the "wisdom of those who elected him" (and my good friend Steve Ray's, 'Well Said') is against the Catholic teaching that the Holy Spirit elects our Popes through the process of selection.

STEVE RAY HERE: I understand your sentiment. I agree we have endured worse adn will survive this period of history. However, the Church has never taught that the Holy Spirit directly chooses any pope. It’s a decision of men and there’s no guarantee that they’ll choose correctly. If I’m wrong, I hope someone will correct me. But I think I’m correct.

Bill912 January 21, 2020 at 8:35 AM

I sure wouldn’t blame the Holy Spirit for Alexander VI!

Thomas M Govern January 21, 2020 at 10:42 PM

Steve, if it was not up to the Holy Spirit then why not select by popular election? We indeed have to hope and pray that the Cardinals that select the pope are guided by the Holy Spirit. The Church will and has survived despite some really stickers. We need to help the current one, good or bad, to do the best job that they can. I think that a person like you will do that.

STEVE RAY HERE: We can only hope and pray the cardinals do as you day. We have no guarantee the will chose well. It used to be by popular vote in the beginning. You might be interested in my talk “How can a John Paul II Catholic Survive in a Pope Francis World”

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