Friday, 25 September 2015

Cardinal electors "shall further abstain!"

Pope St. John Paul II.  Universi Dominici Gregis:

The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.

I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.


With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity. Rather, having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the Church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their judgment is most suited to govern the universal Church in a fruitful and beneficial way.

8 comments:

Anil Wang said...

Sound's good on paper.

The problem is, once a Pope is Pope, he's Pope and if a Pope got in by political manipulation, there's little chance of this law being enforced. Especially since no-one can depose a Pope once elected.

I suppose the only way to really enforce this is to automatically delay the any Pope-elect from taking the seat for a period of time (say 1 month) while an investigation is made to ensure no collusion.

Lynda said...

This is all common sense, flows necessarily from God's Law and Natural Law.

Ronald Sevenster said...

Penalties, including excommunication, intended for Cardinal Electors can almost never be effected, since what is happening here is happening at the very top of the hierarchy, often in a situation when there is no Pope. At the very top everything is just power play, get used to it. This has always been the case and always will be. Cardinals conspire against each other and against the Pope and blackmail is a normal part of this business. The good thing of it is that in reality a Pope has only limited power and can inflict only so much harm on the Church as his power base permits. The official theory, that the Pope holds all the power and can make decisions on his own is just theory, nothing else.

Ronald Sevenster said...

Penalties, including excommunication, intended for Cardinal Electors can almost never be effected, since what is happening here is happening at the very top of the hierarchy, often in a situation when there is no Pope. At the very top everything is just power play, get used to it. This has always been the case and always will be. Cardinals conspire against each other and against the Pope and blackmail is a normal part of this business. The good thing of it is that in reality a Pope has only limited power and can inflict only so much harm on the Church as his power base permits. The official theory, that the Pope holds all the power and can make decisions on his own is just theory, nothing else.

Murray said...

Anil Wang,

In pragmatic terms, you are of course correct. But in ontological terms, we know that excommunicated cardinal-electors are really, objectively unable to take part in a conclave. Their votes simply don't exist in a very real sense. And that implies that the man so elected may not actually be the pope. As I keep saying, this seems worthy of a little investigation.

Pragmatically, of course, we may simply have to wait this papacy out, never learning whether or not it is valid. And we pray that the next conclave does not suffer from the same machinations which cast a cloud over the previous one.

Murray said...

Anil Wang,

In pragmatic terms, you are of course correct. But in ontological terms, we know that excommunicated cardinal-electors are really, objectively unable to take part in a conclave. Their votes simply don't exist in a very real sense. And that implies that the man so elected may not actually be the pope. As I keep saying, this seems worthy of a little investigation.

Pragmatically, of course, we may simply have to wait this papacy out, never learning whether or not it is valid. And we pray that the next conclave does not suffer from the same machinations which cast a cloud over the previous one.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Vox

Murray said...

Ronald Sevenster, you write

Penalties, including excommunication, intended for Cardinal Electors can almost never be effected...

But that's the point: the excommunications for interfering with a papal election are latae sententiae, meaning that they're imposed automatically, no declarations or actions required. It's not a matter of waiting around for some future authority to declare that these men are excommunicated; if they attempted to manipulate a papal conclave, they were excommunicated from that moment and their votes didn't count. If they have not sacramentally confessed their crime and had the excommunications lifted, they remain excommunicate to this day.

It's all very well to strike a world-weary pose and tell us that things have always been thus. Yes, we know. But in UDG, St. John Paul II invoked the Church's power to bind and loose in order to impose automatic and very real penalties on those who canvass for a particular candidate at a papal conclave. If we believe the Church has this authority, we are obliged to follow the logic to its conclusion.