I know it seems absurd, but apparently there are people around who think they aren't Sedevacantists because they think Benedict is the Pope. What they are, is Sedevacantists In Waiting.
Let us leave aside the absurdity of saying that Benedict is Pope when he himself says it is absurd to think so. Let us imagine Benedict has been, say, hypnotised to say so. Or they have threatened to kill his cat. Or something like that.
If Benedict is Pope and Francis isn't, the latter's appointment are invalid. Not only those of the bishops, but those of the Cardinals, too. Therefore, the next conclave will take place with a number of invalidly appointed Cardinals, and I am unable to see how from such a conclave a legitimate Pope might be elected.
Then, at some point Benedict will die, and the Benedictsedists will have to recognise that the Sea is vacant. Then, at some point, Francis will die or resign too, and the now Benedictsedevacantist will have to recognise that his successor is a bogus Pope elected by bogus Cardinals in an invalid conclave. Then at some point – actually rather fast now – all the Cardinals appointed by JP II and Benedict XVI would be above eighty and as such, according to the rule of those same Popes, would lose the right to elect a Pope. Therefore, there would be no Cardinals who can elect a Pope, no mechanism to elect new ones, and no authority that could give validity to whatever new method to elect a Pope.
We would, therefore, be in a situation of utter impasse, for which no solution can be found within Church rules that would allow to get out of it.
Mind, Popes were not always elected by Cardinals. But they were always elected in recognisable harmony with the will of their predecessors. Who could, now, say with any authority what this will is, and therefore which rules shall apply? Shall those Bishops elect the Pope, who have accepted to serve under illegitimate Popes? Who will decide Francis' bishops are to be excluded? How many pre-Francis bishops will remain in a decade or two? Shall we make a poll among pre-Francis priests, instead? Those who have deemed Francis and his successor Popes, you mean? How long until they are gone, too? Shall we elect the new Pope in a worldwide election, then? Paper poll? Internet? Who will organise it? Shall women be allowed to vote? How about those baptised by Francis' non-priests?
No, this is all absurd. So absurd in fact, that one wonders how the Benedictsedists can utter such outlandish ideas without looking three inches beyond their own nose.
Benedict has resigned. He is not the reigning Pope anymore. Volens nolens, Francis is Pope. An atrocious one, I'll give you that; but the Pope elected from largely atrocious Cardinals, selected among largely atrocious Bishops, selected among largely atrocious clergy, produced from largely atrocious seminars, ruined from a largely atrocious Council.
You can turn it and twist it as much as you like, but in the end Francis is the undeniable product of the visible Church. His legitimacy is universally recognised through all the layers of that organisation we and all our ancestors have called “the Church”. There is no way we can call a fantasy parallel reality into existence, that would declare the real reality a scam and bogus organisation. There is no way any of us can decide, whilst in a sober state, that a fake Church now commands the loyalty of all those seen the world over as Catholic Bishops, Priests, Cardinals, Popes, Deacons, and Seminarians; an entire planet showing the Cross on top of fake churches, with no Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, and no valid Masses being celebrated. All this, in favour of a fantasy Church whose last Pope, Benedict, died saying he has validly resigned, and Francis is Pope.
Stop dreaming. Start thinking.
Benedictsedism is sedevacantism in waiting, and in the present situation it is just as absurd as the mainstream Sedevacantism.
The old mother of Cardinal Schoenborn (92 years old, God bless her…) has expressed her fear her son might be elected Pope, an event which would obviously cut the Cardinal's “family time”.
I am sure I express the opinion of all readers when I say we will fervently pray that she can continue to see her son as much as she likes.
I know men are fallible and prone to all the mistakes and sins caused by their fallen nature, but I always thought the Church has disposed a series of measures meant to minimise, in the most varied circumstances, the effect of our impulses on our decisions.
One beautiful example of this is the Conclave. Isolation. Times for prayer. Total immersion in the task at hand. A kind of spiritual retreat aimed at electing a Pope.
Exactly this seems now what at least some Cardinals want to avoid, with the recent calls for postponement of the Conclave because no strong candidate has allegedly emerged from the “preparatory talks”. This means, in plain English, that the Conclave should only be little more than a formality, and the real game already decided at the moment of the extra omnes.
I allow myself to disagree. Exactly why we all know how fallible human nature is, the Cardinals should insist that the decision process takes place, to as big an extent as possible, during and not before the Conclave. I can't see why even the “meet and great” should not take place there.
Of course, this would mean that Conclaves go on for longer; but I fail to see the difference with preliminary talks going on for longer.
Also, please consider Cardinals and Archbishops aren't indispensable. Past Conclaves weren't exactly short, and whenever an Archbishop or Curial Cardinal dies suddenly, the structure he leads is certainly not paralysed.
“Ahh, but the Press, the Press!” – you might say – “They expect a fast decision! Otherwise the Church will give the impression of being divided!”.
Seriously: the Press will always slander the Church whenever they want to, and it is fitting for every Catholic to be aware a Pope isn't elected by angels, either. Let the Press write what they want, and the Church do what is good for Her.
I personally can only see with worry a climate in which the pre-conclave is becoming the real conclave, and the actual conclave little more than an investiture ceremony. If you ask me, the Conclave should start sooner rather than later and he who hasn't time for it should not have any need for a red hat, either. If I were a Cardinal I would vastly prefer to get to know my colleagues in a spiritual and prayerful environment during the course of some weeks, than having this kind of primaries – at the very least – that are taking place now.
I have always been taught that you see a good leader when you know he could be run over by a bus and his structure would continue to run as a well-oiled mechanism at least for the ordinary administration, and that the value of a leader is in his ability to take decisions, not in his being a micro-controller and head bean counter. I can't see why a conclave should be an exception.
I hope the next Pope is elected in a more prayerful manner, with a strong conclave and with a press embargo from the start.
It is no surprise, but laudable nevertheless, that some Cardinals (yesterday the talk was of Brazilian ones, this morning I found no mention of national groups) have asked to be at least briefed concerning the Vatileaks report.
Truly, this matter very well decribes the way such matters are dealth with within the Leonine Walls. A Conclave should take place without the participants being informed about the most serious matter on the table; without knowing whether there are homosexuals among them, whom the former Pope allowed to attend the Conclave undisturbed; and without having a clear idea of the scale of the problem, so that they can order their thoughts concerning the most suited man for the job accordingly.
A culture of incompetence feeds – and is in turn fed by – a culture of secrecy which cannot hide the scale of the problem anymore. How can it be right that even Cardinals are kept in the dark, because the one or other among them might “leak” if they don’t. How can it be expected the Cardinals are not given any information about who the black sheep and their protectors are, but are supposed to pick one able to get rid of them. It can only work by coincidence or heavenly help.
The culture of secrecy, and the vast incompetence at every level, is in turn encouraged by the culture of impunity. If no one ever gets really punished, the way will be open for every mistake, every conspiracy, every secret group, even a gay mafia.
The inability to think straight was ruthlessly exposed in the last weeks: the report will be given to the Cardinal, but actually no, it won’t. A Pope resigns and there’s no decision about his rank and official style, place of residence, stipend; decision which is not – absurdly – left to the next Pope, because it is then taken by the Pope himself.
With the Vatican today it is as if every little decision would cause pain, and every big one uncertainty: let the Cardinals have the report, oh well perhaps better not; let the SSPX agree to the Preambolo, oh well let us change the wording at the last second; let the former Pope be Bishop Emeritus Ratzinger, oh well let us have Pope Emeritus Benedict instead.
In the meantime, homosexuals make it to Cardinal.
How does the next Pope break this vicious circle of secrecy which encourages incompetence and fosters perversion? Inthe same way as this is done everywhere else: by punishing the culprits.
In every Board of Directors you lose your job and pay if you leak (there are ways to make this more difficult, like individually coded written texts allowing to know who has leaked). Let the first two or three leakers lose their red hat and bishopric, and see how fast the culture change.
The same applies to every other problem: if every one who is discovered to be homosexual is immediately defrocked, no one of them will ever aspire to a role within the Vatican; actually not even to a place in a seminary.
I could go on, but you get the gist.
I am not proposing anything outlandish, or being a hopeless dreamers. This is the way it works wherever things must be made to function properly. Truly, this is the most shocking aspect of the Vatican machinery nowadays: proper functioning simply seems not to interest anyone.
Last example? I read it this morning: the start of the conclave can only be officially fixed when all the Cardinals are there. “I have a speaking engagement”, says one. “Sorry, a lot to do at the moment”, says another. It will work in the end, but it would appear every Cardinal can cause a delay of a day or two if he thinks it serves his purposes. He’ll obviously visit jails and hospitals, so that no one can complain out loud.