30 March 2017


"The Holy Spirit guided the Church in the process of your [i.e. Bergoglio's] election".

Dubia (1) Is this alleged as being true of every pope? What would be the evidence in the Catholic Church's Magisterium for such a proposition?

(2) If so, how is this historically to be reconciled with, for example, the means by which Leo V, Christopher,  Sergius III, Anastasius III, Lando, John X, Leo VI, and Stephen VIII, and not a few others, secured the papal throne? Is the direction of the Holy Spirit to be discerned in the process of murdering one pope and then seizing his place? What theological account are we to give of role of the Holy Spirit in the conception of Pope John XI in the womb of Marozia and his elevation by her influence to the Papacy only two decades later?

(3) Alternatively, granted the considerable improbability of (1), is this stated as being true, not of all popes, but in a special, individual way of Papa Bergoglio? If so, how do we know this? How does the writer know this? Is this anything other than the speaker's subjective and personal feeling?

"The same Holy Spirit guides and supports you [i.e. Bergoglio] day by day".

(4) Is this alleged as being true of every pope ex officio? What would be the evidence in the Catholic Church's Magisterium for such a proposition?

(5) If so, how is this historically to be reconciled with (exempli gratia) Urban VI's habit of guiding and supporting day by day the torture (culminating in their executions) of those Cardinals who had sent him a Letter of Fraternal Correction? (I recall that the life of our own learned and saintly English Cardinal Adam Easton, sometime teacher of Greek and Hebrew in this University, was only saved by the intervention of King Richard II.)

(6)  Alternatively, granted the considerable improbability of (4), is this stated as being true, not of all popes, but of Papa Bergoglio in a special, individual way? If so, how does the writer arrive at such confident certainty of knowledge about the daily guidance afforded to any other human being by the Holy Spirit? Is the writer claiming of himself that (vide John 2:25) "he knows all men and needs no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knows what is in man"?

"I assure you, Holy Father, of the ... whole-hearted suppport of us all".

(7) What processes exist, formal or informal, to dissociate oneself from this audacious claim; to say "Not in my name"?

During Henry Tudor's 'Great Matter', Archbishop Wareham assured Henry of the unanimous support, signed and sealed, of the English and Welsh Bishops: "That is the truth if it please your Highness; I doubt not that all my brethren here present will affirm the same".

And there was just one voice that said "That is not my hand nor seal!" 


Ana Milan said...

Maybe prior to VII Cardinals were more prayerful & open to the promptings of the Holy Ghost but certainly after VII the smoke of Satan definitely entered the Vatican & hence the CC. There is no way He had anything to do with the election of PF & the outcome of this disastrous papacy is proof of that. The Holy Ghost would never raise a Marxist to the Throne of Peter! Fr. Amorth said before he died that the stench of Satan was in the Vatican, particularly in the sanctuary & who would doubt him.

I am not aware of any formal way to disassociate oneself from the actions of an infiltrator but I have personally emailed the Vatican saying that PF does not speak or act in my name or the name of any member of my family. I know the intended recipient won't care who is with or against him but I felt it necessary to disassociate myself & family from his words & actions.

Joy313 said...

1. Affirmative.
2. Chastisement.

bill said...

We all owe a lot of thanks to Wesley who popularized a sort of spiritual empiricism that by its very nature is unfalsifiable. That is the point of these dubia. What can his Eminence produce to verify this? Formally, this grammar shares deeply in the grammar of twentieth century English-speaking protestantism of all varieties. What we in America call the mainline (Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist) has done this to advance a new social agenda while their enemies, whom we call evangelicals (varieties of Baptists, Pentecostals, etc.) make the same claim for having no ecclesial affiliation at all. The only important thing is something called a 'personal relationship with God.' Thus the, 'spiritual not religious' movement. And thus the vast hordes who claim God tells them this, that, or the other thing.
The path being tread by those who claim the Spirit has already been blazed in America, and is well burned-out. Perhaps Pope Francis can assign to all the cardinal's Basil's "On the Holy Spirit," which, surprisingly enough, is about the church and tradition.

Unknown said...

Dear Father, I sincerely hope you are planning to submit these much needed dubia - which perfectly reflect the 'questions' in my own mind regarding this rather bizarre letter - to the Cardinal Archbishop. I will await his response with great anticipation. I'm sure he reads your blog so he could always post a quick reply...

Prayerful said...

One thing that can be reliably seen when a Papal election occurs is that Catholics believe the Holy Spirit chooses the Pope, or something very close to that. That idea is erroneous at best, and Fr makes some points to demonstrate why this absurd notion is not so.

Deacon Augustine said...

"If so, how does the writer arrive at such confident certainty of knowledge about the daily guidance afforded to any other human being by the Holy Spirit?"

No doubt because the writer suffers from that terminal malady: "Nasum syndrome brunneis."

Dr. Adam DeVille said...

If memory serves, Ratzinger somewhere or other (Milestones? Ratzinger Report?) says, in reflecting on the two conclaves of '78 in which he participated, that he had grave difficulties with those who claimed that the man elected pope (whether in '78 or any other conclave) is guaranteed to be the Holy Spirit's candidate or choice. He rather strongly suggested that the most one could responsibly claim is that the Spirit might give a nudge in a certain direction or other, but ultimately would never force the Church towards or away from any one man.

Liam Ronan said...

Perhaps some are guided by the spirit of the damn busters, Father.

Patrick Sheridan said...

Ana Milan, your actions sound like a form of Sedevacantism to me.

neilmac said...

The unwarranted assumption by those opposed to the Church's teaching that they were, in some special way, party to the will of the Holy Spirit came to be known in some quarters of the Church of England as "bird religion", since they commonly used the symbol of the dove.

I look forward to the submission of your dubia to the Cardinal Archbishop and will wait in hope of answers (but not with bated breath for I fear asphyxiation). I wonder if he will understand them.

Jeffrey Smith said...

That divine influence is involved in the papal elections is merely a specific instance of the fact that God is in control of everything: your dubia are actually grounded on the false idea that God is not omnipotent. The better answer is that His Thoughts are not our thoughts, that He is working on a very long time scale,and His Wisdom can select methods that do not sound benevolent to us who are limited to bodies and a short time frame--just like a parent will not allow a toddler the extra bits of candy, even though the toddler may think that a Completely Bad Thing.

If that is too abstract, think of the old medical technique of intensifying a fever to help it break sooner and effect a quicker cure.

RJ said...

I would have thought the Holy Spirit guides every well-disposed person, including the Pope. I would have thought that the Pope, like everyone else, receives special graces to fulfil his office. We should respect the office and be obedient to the office holder in all that is not sin. Unless we have specific evidence to the contrary, we should assume he was validly elected to that office.

Calvin Engime said...

Interesting that in letter 108, St Leo the Great couches the Spirit's guidance of the clergy in a conditional: "...ut si quid per servitutem nostram bono ordine et gratulando impletur effectu, non ambigamus per Spiritum sanctum fuisse donatum." (PL 54:1012)