Oct 6, 2019

Does Peaceful and Universal Acceptance of a Pope Make Francis Legitimacy Certain?

The three states of the Church. "When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating 'in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is'."

2013 Conclave
My apologies for the lack of updates this past week. I am preparing for a two-month trip (starting October 18) to Western Europe where I will be visiting some of the holiest sites in Catholicism. I will be updating the web site constantly during this time.

Shifting gears. The most persuasive argument that the defenders of the legitimacy of Francis have made is that the peaceful, universal acceptance of a pope makes the results of the 2013 conclave an infallibly certain fact. Fr. E. Sylvester Berry explained the reasoning here and Robert Siscoe explains it here.

I will allow you to evaluate the strength of the argument for yourself. I try to be careful when pronouncing on these matters because I do not wish to lead people in a false direction and I am tentative in my own views. If I am not certain about something I will let you know - the purpose of this blog isn't to bluster through any and all questions but to discern truth in a collective way, with my readers, through prayer and fasting and trusting in the Holy Spirit to illuminate our path.

But I would like to offer one thought on this thesis.

What do we mean when say that 'the Church' has universally accepted a pope? 

The Church is a Body with Christ at its head. The Body is made up of three parts - the Church Militant (us), the Church Penitent (those in purgatory) and the Church Triumphant (those in heaven).

While we can reasonably say that the Church Militant near-universally acceded to the election of Francis, perhaps that cannot be said for the Church Triumphant and the Church Penitent. Perhaps that's what this was all about:


It is difficult to imagine the Saints and Martyrs of the past accepting Francis. The thousands of saints who went to death rather than deny a single fact of the Faith would be quite sick to listen to him speak on almost any subject at almost any time.

Perhaps this was a signal that for some reason, known to God, the person who would be bestowed by the Church Militant with the papacy was not going to be endowed with the powers of the papacy by Christ - freedom from error chief among them.