The Cowardinals Need To Grow A Pair
Many people in Italy know the story of the 1268-1271 Conclave in Viterbo. The Cardinals were unable to reach an agreement, with very hardened fronts. The populace became increasingly frustrated with this and recurred to various measures to “persuade” the Cardinals to make a decision. First, they locked the Cardinals inside the palace (some say this was the first Conclave); then, they reduced their food rations. When not even this worked, they proceeded to take away the roof of the building, leaving the Cardinals literally in the cold.
Promptly, a new Pope was elected.
There is no denying that, by every present and former standard, undue pressure was exercised on the Cardinals, a pressure threatening, at the end, their very lives.
It is, to my knowledge, not known that anyone asked for the Conclave to be considered invalid (which was always a possibility, even before JP II’s rule – the Western Schism was originated exactly by such a claim!) and, as a result, for every conclave after that to be illegitimate.
This was, also, only an episode. If you know a bit of Church History you know that during its course there were such long periods of such sustained corruption that it is improbable that episodes of bribery and intimidation were, if more discreet than in Viterbo, not uncommon.
Why I say to you all this ? Because it seems to me that Bishop Gracida’s suggestion, that the Cardinal should call the election of Francis invalid following procedural matters, is very dangerous if very well-intentioned.
It would end up in what Italians call ” a trial to intentions”, with anectodical evidence and the stupid, vainglorious bragging of the one or the other used to undermine a Papal election.
Ask yourself this: if the Pope coming out of the Conclave had been Plus XIII, and a stupid Cardinal or three were to brag about the intelligence and efficacy of their own lobbying efforts, would you now ask that the Cardinals call the election illegitimate?
What, then, about the future? Shall every future Pope have to live under such threat unless and until the rules are changed?
It seems to me that the problem here is not the election, but the Pontificate. The remedy for this is simple: the Pope is forced to uphold orthodoxy or he is deposed as a heretic.
This was what was originally planned, but the Cowardinals – led by Cowardinal In Chief, Burke – then discovered the cojones for this were just not available. Still, this is and remains the main way, bar an Imperfect Council which would be extremely expensive and difficult to organise, and which, if such support among Bishops is present, would certainly gather the support of enough Cardinals to go the shorter way and make the process credible.
The Cowardinals need to grow a pair, and this should be the beginning and the end of any discussion about Francis. Procedural fantasies that endanger the credibility of every future papal election are, in my eyes, not helpful.