21 June 2023

Getting rid of Popes (2)

 Dryden remarked that Ovid's hexameters went always at the hand-gallop; in the spirit of Ovid let us resume our seats behind Dom Gueranger as he charges through the certainties of the sixth century.

"Saint Agapitus I died [536] at Constantinople, whither Theodorat, the Goth, had persuaded him to go, in order to appease the anger of Justinian excited against this king by reason of his treasons. 

"Scarcely had the news of this death [of Pope Agapitus I] reached the Arian prince [Theodorat] than he ... imperatively designated as successor to the deceased Pope, the deacon Silverius. Two months later, the Justice of God struck the tyrant [Theodorat], and the Church was set free. Doubtless, Rome would have but exercised her proper right had she rejected the Head [Pope Silverius] thus imposed upon her by main force ... 

"But Silverius, who had been an utter stranger to the violence used on his personal account, was in reality a man in every way fitted to the supreme pontificate. Therefore, when the Roman clergy became free to act, they had no wish to withdraw from him their adhesion, until then certainly disputable. From that moment undoubtedly, Silverius could not but be Head of the Church, the true successor of Agapitus ... 

" ... he [Silverius]  proved how well he understood the exigencies of duty in his exalted office, and preferred an exile which would eventually cost him his life, to the abandoning of a post wherein the Holy Ghost had truly placed him ... 

"Even before death had done its work in thee [Silverius], there was to be found a son of thine [Vigilius] coveting thy dominion ... the usurper could but be an intruder; until such time as the all-powerful merits of thy glorious death had obtained the transformation of the hireling into the legitimate Pastor, and had made this Vigilius become the heir of thine own courage ... "

Again ... a succession of situations in which it is rarely absolutely clear who the true pope was ... and who was the usurper trying to depose him.  

De jure and de facto keep each other at arm's length, and possession is nine tenths of the pontificate.


Arthur Gallagher said...

It should be noted that believing that the see might be vacant does not make someone a sede vacantist. It does happen from time to time.

My own opinion is that the refusal of Benedict XVI to assert that he was deposed, but instead acknowledging his successor, followed by a general acceptance of Francis I as Pope, settles the matter. It does not matter that Benedict probably was deposed, which I also believe.

I have no opinion as to whether PF has somehow lost the office that he gained in so grubby a fasion.

All that having been said, I wish that Francis I was still a style of architecture, and not also the name of a pope.

PM said...

Pope Francis never ceases to perplex, but his most recent surprise is a pleasant one. After the spectacle of the National Catholic Reporter (recte National Anti-Catholic Distorter) and so-called 'Pope Francis bishops' in the United States disparaging Eucharistic Adoration and the bishops' eucharistic revival campaign, out comes Francis commending the bishops' plans, blessing a monstrance for them, and saying that Adoration is a good thing and we should recover the tradition of contemplative prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

Will the real Pope Francis please stand up?

Albertus said...

Arthur, you have wittingly and accurately expressed the thoughts of many, including my own.