ASK FATHER: Is Francis an Antipope because Cardinals conspired and the conclave was invalid?

wdtprs.com | 10/20/2019 | View all posts by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf →
JimmyJoeJimmyJoe (Posted by) Level 3


QUAERITUR:

In your podcast the other about [Fr. Thomas G.] Weinandy’s idea of an “internal papal schism” you said that nobody is saying that Bergoglio is an Antipope. But there are people saying that and Bergoglio is an Antipope because the conclave was invalid. There were Cardinals who conspired to elect Bergoglio and that means they were excommunicated and were forbidden to be in the conclave. Austen Ivereigh said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor told him that he and others worked for Bergoglio and disgraced McCarrick said that he was approached by some powerful guy and then he campaigned for Bergoglio. At least some of the Cardinals in the conclave were not supposed to be able to vote. Bergoglio is an Antipope because the conclave was rigged!

Argument - Electors - Excommunication - Sententiae - Bergoglio

Yes, I’ve seen this argument before. Since some electors incurred an excommunication automatically (latae sententiae) by conspiring and agreeing to elect Bergoglio (Universi dominici gregis 81), therefore they weren’t supposed to vote in the conclave. But they did vote and therefore the election is invalid.

The problem with this argument is the distinction between types of excommunication.

Latae - Excommunications - Way - Excommunications - Sententiae

Latae sententiae excommunications can be incurred automatically, even in a hidden way. Other excommunications are publicly declared (ferendae sententiae). Canon law indicates that a person who has incurred a censure latae sententiae would cast an illicit vote, whereas a person under a ferendae sententiae excommunication would cast an invalid vote. If an election turned on the number of votes cast by electors under ferendae sententiae excommunication then the election would be invalid (can. 171).

If a Cardinal elector is under ferendae sententiae excommunication he would be impeded from participating in the conclave and he would not be permitted even to enter the conclave. And only a Pope determines whether a Cardinal has incurred a latae sententiae excommunication and then formally declare a ferendae...
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