10 April 2018

The Next Conclave and the Papal Oath

Four months ago, I printed the following piece. Last Saturday, at the Rome Conference, Bishop Schneider read a paper urging the restoration of the Papal Oath

 Nothing would better express the Traditional, Biblical, Patristic, notion of the Petrine Office, as happily defined at Vatican I, than the following reform in what is done at the inauguration of a pontificate.

The prelate who emerges elected from the next Conclave should instantly sweep away all the unnecessary and obsessive ritual flummeries dreamed up, I think, by Pietro Marini and first used at the Inauguration of Benedict XVI.

They should be replaced by the taking of a solemn Oath of Fidelity done in public. Analogies and formulae existed for this in previous ages, which might be used to supply textual materials.
     For people who like ritual stuff, the Oath could be taken on the oldest Bible in the Vatican Libraries.
     For people who like even more ritual stuff, or are fixated on the use of vernaculars, each paragraph, before the pope recites it in Latin, could be chanted by, say, a Jewish Cantor in Hebrew and a Byzantine Subdeacon in Greek and read by laypeople in any number of vernaculars.
     For strange people who want even more ritual than that, the document could then be solemnly attested by Cardinal Notaries and sealed with lead.
     For those whose affection for ritual amounts to a lunatic obsession, the document could, finally, be solemnly processed through the congregation, held aloft by the Cardinal Protodeacon in the popemobile, while the crowd hysterically shouted VIVAT IUSIURANDUM! Meanwhile, the pontiff would remain kneeling in quiet and humble prayer before the Altar. The popemobile could then be taken away, either for immediate ignominious destruction, or for sale at Sotheby's in New Bond Street, the money (including, of course, the auctioneer's commission) being given to the Poor and the Ordinariates.

Essentially, the new Pontiff should swear, in words drawn from Pastor aeternus of Vatican I, to hand down uncorrupted the Tradition which is from the Lord through His Apostles, the Deposit of Faith. He should swear to resist and to put down all novitates, tam in Fide quam in moribus.

He should acknowledge that, while he will indeed be the Supreme Legislator with full power to change the (human) Law of the Church, he will himself obey the Law and refrain from interfering with legal processes, particularly those relating to the trial, conviction, and punishment of clerical sexual predators who enjoy powerful curial protectors.

And a rather useful practical undertaking might be: "As We uncover evil practices and corrupt deeds and false teachings among Our Cardinals and their clientelae, We shall not allow Ourself to be deterred from dealing with them strictly and according to Justice, by any consideration of who supported or who resisted Our Own election."

To preserve the poor silly Media from their inveterate temptation to assume that a pope has or ought to have a "programme", the Oath should not be followed by a homily.

If the Tourist Industry desired the service to be padded out to a yet greater length and dignified with rather more 'heritage', this could be done by a reaffirmation and confirmation (with great solemnity) of the anathemas pronounced by the Sixth Ecumenical Council against Pope Honorius I.


Alastair said...

The Facebook Thought Police won't let me even include a link to your blog to share this. How pathetic.

Ben of the Bayou said...

First class project, Reverend Father!

Tereze said...

That is also happened to me. So what does it is mean, this BLOG is on the list of dangerous websites and SOMEBODY DID IT ON PURPOSE. We have to protest this on FAECBOOK !

Christopher Boegel said...


Robin said...

Not directly related but I could not resist sharing with you the following quote from the biography of Cardinal Manning by Robert Gray.It is by a colleague of Manning's George Talbot on Pius IX.
'As the Pope is no great theologian himself, I feel convinced that when he writes (papal encyclicals) he is inspired by God.'
You might feel this could refer to a more recent Pope but not necessarily agreeing with Talbot's logic.

John Vasc said...

But what if the next elected Pope refuses this idea, and really puts her foot down?

Joshua said...

The next Pope can begin by removing the red hat from Cardinal Baldisseri's head when he comes to profess his obedience, and have the Swiss guards arrest him to be tried for theft, pour encourager les autres.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

As I understand, it is the link itself which is blocked. There is nothing to stop you directing to the blog thus: liturgicalnotes.blogspotDOTcoDOTuk/2018/01/the-next-conclave-and-papal-oath.html and thus allow intelligent people to get there themselves. I do not myself do Facebook, but believe this would work.

I rather like Thereze Avila's suggestive spelling mistake, and wonder whether it was deliberate. Very apt, I fear!

orate fratman said...

Horrendum Illud Scelus, anyone?

Liam Ronan said...

Swear an oath, Father? I recall Barack Obama put his hand on the bible (not once but twice...well, actually three times because the Chief Justice somehow got the oath wrong)and swore:

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Had she won the election, Hillary Clinton too would have breezily sworn to any oath cast upon the wind.

What matter an oath to the unscrupulous, the irreligious, unbelieving be they ecclesiastics or politicians?

JARay said...

I am not bothered by Facebook or Twitter or any other of these strange internet sites. I have nothing to do with them, I have never used them and I never will use them.
The only thing that I want the next Pope to do is to remove Amoris Laetitia.

Howard said...

"For people who like ritual stuff, the Oath could be taken on the oldest Bible in the Vatican Libraries." Actually, that sounds a bit Protestant. I would say such an oath would be on the relics of St. Peter.

Overall, though ... I'm afraid I think it is a bad idea, as it would seem to be a promise to the rank and file of the Church, with the implication that if he does not, in their opinion, live up to this oath, his papacy is invalid. It is better to make it clear that the Pope is accountable to God, and that only God can remove him from that post. Something along the lines of Deuteronomy 28 is what I have in mind. I'm not sure that the Church actually approves of calling down curses on one's own head should an oath or vow be broken, though.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Many handers (On the one hand....on the other hand) love the idea of the Oath being reinstituted but are also aware that Our Pope and Our Cross has chosen 40% of the Cardinalate and by the time he abdicates or returns to dust, he will have chosen more than 50% of the electors so, YIKES!!!!!

Grant Milburn said...

An oath sworn on the relics of St Peter. That sounds apt. I was just looking at the Bayeux Tapestry online. Duke Harold swears an oath before Duke William, extending his hands to touch TWO altars of relics. The caption: VBI HAROLD SACRAMENTVM FECIT VVILLELMO DVCI.

Sacramentum fecit...I like that.

J Tempest said...

I read it as "The Next Conclave and the Papal Oaf"!

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

That oath is not one a catholic can take. It amounts to defending freemasonry and the cretinous nonsense of the "enlightenment".