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Sancta Sedes, Papa Bonifatius X (electronic mail)

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This short treatise will establish infallibly that Pope Boniface X is the true Roman Pontiff.  Given the evidence below, it will demonstrate why, in light of there being the Roman Pontiff in Boniface X, it is extremely dangerous to your soul to be stubbornly sedevacantist (i.e. believing that we are in the Great Apostasy, but holding that the Church has no valid pope at this time). Sedevacantism is contrary to the desire of Christ in His positive Divine commandment to the entire Church (and thus to every Catholic) to establish a papacy in every age as defined at Vatican I (see below), and is fundamentally schismatic and diabolical insofar as its adherents do almost nothing to obtain a true Pontiff, as shown in their behavior over almost half a century.

How to Prove the True Papacy

Unlike charlatans, who delude the unwary with false miracles, false signs, and lying wonders, the truth of the papal claims of Boniface X rests mainly the plain proofs of reason itself, confirmed by the Holy Ghost as given to those who have received the gift of Divine and Catholic Faith. Now, this is not to say that true miracles will not and have not been performed to prove this papacy. We continue to pray for miracles from heaven to show the world that this is the truth, and to make the Church strong and mighty. But We warn the faithful, now as Our predecessors have always done, that faith must rest on the gift of God, confirmed primarily by God's grace and secondarily through sound logical reasoning. This is apart from any miracles. The reasoning itself should be so strong that miracles are not even necessary to prove our position.

Thus Christ declared:

If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead. (Lk 16:19-25).

Before citing the authorities below, it is important to remark that not only are ecumenical councils infallible, but encyclicals of the Pontiffs are also infallible and are the very words of Christ Himself. Pius XII taught in his encyclical Humani Generis:

Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "he who heareth you, heareth Me". (Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis).

Therefore, the words of the encyclicals of the true Popes are the words of Jesus Christ Himself.

Vatican II is an Apostate Sect that Contradicts Catholic Teaching

No salvation outside the Catholic Church and faith is the fundamental truth denied by the Vatican II sect. This denial is the expression of complete apostasy and faithlessness. The true dogma is that only Catholics (those who hold the Catholic faith and submit to the true Roman Pontiff) are saved. The Vatican II sect began in 1958 when the apostate Antipope John XXIII pretended to be elected to the papacy. All of the men commonly recognized as the head of the Catholic Church since that time have actually also been Antipopes (John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedit XVI, and Francis).  Vatican II and its Antipopes deny the basic dogma contained in the Athanasian Creed infallibly defined at the Council of Florence:

Whosoever will be saved, above all it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith… unless a man hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate, without a doubt, he will perish everlastingly. (Athanasian Creed, Council of Florence, Pope Eugene IV,1442).

This basic creed of the faith, taught for millennia, was reiterated by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 in bold language:

Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that "there is one God, one faith, one baptism" may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that "those who are not with Christ are against Him," and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore "without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate." Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: "He who is for the See of Peter is for me." A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: "The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?" (Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 1832)

The Vatican II sect, contradicting the original teaching of the Catholic Church, instead teaches that there is salvation outside of the Catholic Church for those holding to false religions. For example, Antipope Benedict XVI declares that members of false sects can be saved, and that one does not need to worry about how they are saved (the church is now "irrelevant" to salvation):

Regarding the future, it seems likely that, in global terms, the influence of the Church over the world will constantly diminish. The numeric triumph of Catholicism over other religions, which today can still be admitted, probably will not continue. […] In this state of things, one should no longer be concerned with the salvation of ‘the others,’ who for some time now have become ‘our brothers.’ Above all, the central question is to have an intuition of the Church’s position and mission in History under a positive new point-of-view. This new point-of-view should allow one to believe in the universal offer of the grace of salvation as well as the essential part that the Church plays in this. Therefore, in this sense the problem changed. What concerns us is no longer how ‘the others’ will be saved. Certainly we know, by our faith in divine mercy, that they can be saved. How this happens, we leave to God. The point that does concern us is principally this: Why, despite the wider possibility of salvation, is the Church still necessary? Why should faith and life still continue to come through her? In other words, the present day Christians no longer question if their non-believer brothers can reach salvation. Overall, they desire to know what is the meaning of their union with the universal embrace of Christ and their union with the Church (Antipope Benedict XVI as Joseph Ratzinger, “Necessita della missione della Chiesa nel mondo,”in La Fine della Chiesa come Societa Perfetta, Verona: Mondatori, 1968, pp 69-70).

Vatican II teaches the heresy that false sects are means of salvation:

The separated churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from the defects already mentioned, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fulness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church. (Decree on Oecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 3).

In interpreting this clause from Vatican II, Antipope John Paul II taught the following heresy publicly:

Normally, ‘it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious traditions and by following the dictates of their own conscience that the members of other religions respond positively to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize or acknowledge him as their Saviour (cf. Ad gentes, nn. 3, 9, 11) (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue – Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation, 19 May 1991, n. 29; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 1 July 1991, p. III). (General Audience, Wednesday, September 9, 1998).

This is an amazing and complete denial of the Athanasian Creed already quoted above, that a man must hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate (not deny even one dogma) for salvation. Instead, according to the Vatican II sect, salvation has been opened to people who hold all kinds of false creeds and religions.

Another consequential error promoted by the Vatican II sect is the belief in religious liberty for men in false and harmful religions:

The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person... This right to religious freedom is to be recognised in the constitutional law whereby society is governed. Thus it is to become a civil right. (Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae, paragraph 2).

This council goes on to teach that men should even be free to promote their false religions:

The freedom or immunity from coercion in matters religious which is the endowment of persons as individuals is also to be recognized as their right when they act in community. Religious communities are a requirement of the social nature both of man and of religion itself. Provided the just demands of public order are observed, religious communities rightfully claim freedom in order that they may govern themselves according to their own norms, honor the Supreme Being in public worship, assist their members in the practice of the religious life, strengthen them by instruction, and promote institutions in which they may join together for the purpose of ordering their own lives in accordance with their religious principles.

Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered, either by legal measures or by administrative action on the part of government, in the selection, training, appointment, and transferral of their own ministers, in communicating with religious authorities and communities abroad, in erecting buildings for religious purposes, and in the acquisition and use of suitable funds or properties. Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word. However, in spreading religious faith and in introducing religious practices everyone ought at all times to refrain from any manner of action which might seem to carry a hint of coercion or of a kind of persuasion that would be dishonorable or unworthy, especially when dealing with poor or uneducated people. Such a manner of action would have to be considered an abuse of one's right and a violation of the right of others. (Vatican II, Dignitiatis Humanae, 1965).

These notions were condemned by many true Pontiffs. For example, Pope Gregory XVI teaches:

This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. "But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error," as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly "the bottomless pit" is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws -- in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty. Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor. We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice. We are in tears at the abuse which proceeds from them over the face of the earth. Some are so carried away that they contentiously assert that the flock of errors arising from them is sufficiently compensated by the publication of some book which defends religion and truth. Every law condemns deliberately doing evil simply because there is some hope that good may result. Is there any sane man who would say poison ought to be distributed, sold publicly, stored, and even drunk because some antidote is available and those who use it may be snatched from death again and again? (Gregory XVI, Mirair Vos, 1832).

Pope Pius IX teaches the following truth:

And from this wholly false idea of social organization they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, especially fatal to the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by our predecessor, Gregory XVI, insanity, namely that the liberty of conscience and worship is the proper right of every man, and should be proclaimed by law in every correctly established society... Each and every doctrine individually mentioned in this letter, by Our Apostolic authority We reject, proscribe and condemn; and We wish and command that they be considered as absolutely rejected by all the sons of the Church. (Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura, 1864).

Pope Pius VII teaches the following truth:

There is certainly no need of many words, in addressing you, to make you fully recognize by how lethal a wound the Catholic religion in France is struck by this article. For when the liberty of all "religions" is indiscriminately asserted, by this very fact truth is confounded with error and the holy and immaculate Spouse of Christ, the Church, outside of which there can be no salvation, is set on a par with the sects of heretics and with Judaic perfidy itself. For when favour and patronage is promised even to the sects of heretics and their ministers, not only their persons, but also their very errors, are tolerated and fostered: a system of errors in which is contained that fatal and never sufficiently to be deplored HERESY which, as St. Augustine says (de Haeresibus, no.72), "asserts that all heretics proceed correctly and tell the truth: which is so absurd that it seems incredible to me." (Pope Pius VII, Post Tam Diuturnas, 1814).

Vatican II refers to false religions as good and praiseworthy, and worthy of respect, honor, esteem, and recognition. This is contrary to every dogma ever proclaimed that anathematizes any erroneous doctrine.

Vatican II teaches that false religions are good, and that false and idolatrous teachings that differ from Roman Catholicism should be respected:

Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. (Nostrae Aetate, On the Relation of the Church to the Non-Christian Religions, 1965).

On the contrary, the true Popes and the Catholic faith teach that those who hold false religions more or less good and praiseworthy, and that seek to establish meetings and worship with members of false sects, have "altogether abandoned the divinely revealed religion" (in other words, they are no longer even Catholic, but are apostates). By holding it, you lose the Catholic faith and fall outside the Catholic Church and salvation:

A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matters which concern the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord. For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion. (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, 1928).

The true Catholic faith teaches that non-Catholic religions are not "worthy of reverence and respect", but instead are diabolical and evil:

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Basel, 1434: “… there is hope that very many from the abominable sect of Mahomet will be converted to the Catholic faith.”

Pope Callixtus III: “I vow to… exalt the true Faith, and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet [Islam] in the East.”

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, 1442: “Therefore the Catholic Church rejects, condemns, anathematizes and declares to be outside the body of Christ, which is the Church, whoever holds opposing or contrary views.”

Heretics Are Not in the Catholic Church

The leaders of the Vatican II sect, who have claimed rule over Christ's sheep since 1958, are therefore not Catholic. They are apostates. These include the following false popes: John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis.

This Great Apostasy was predicted by Saint Paul in his letter to Thessalonica in the Holy Scripture. It is the great falling away from faith and truth that was destined to happen at the end of time. We are now in the Great Apostasy.

The Vatican II sect is the main sign that we live at the end of time. Other minor signs of apostasy are also evident- rampant immorality, inability of people to comprehend truth and falsehood, a Jewish dominated media that promotes agnosticism and immorality, denial of dogma by those deemed to be prelates, promotion of sodomy and men lusting with men, women lusting with women, pedophilia, weakness and effeminacy, pornography and immodest clothing, hypocrisy among those who pass as the clergy and leaders in every sphere, revolutionaries and communists in once Catholic lands, the overthrow of all Catholic monarchies, and many many more.

Since Antipope John XXIII began his false reign in 1958, this new false cult has pretended to be the Roman Catholic Church (its false Popes include John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis). All of the bishops of the true Roman Catholic Church fell into schism when they endorsed the heretical false popes, and fell into heresy when they accepted the errors established at the Vatican II council in 1962- 1965. They fell outside of the Catholic Church, and became members of the Vatican II sect. This is because no heretic is inside the Catholic Church:

"The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodoret, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. "No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic" (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88)." (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 1896).

Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely "pneumatological" as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are untied by an invisible bond. (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi, 1943).

Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. (Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christ, 1943).

Therefore, if one is a heretic, he is not a Catholic. (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 1896)

As can be seen, only those are included as members of the Church who profess the true Catholic faith. This is why the following was defined by Innocent III:

By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics, but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church outside of which we believe that no one is saved. (Pope Innocent III, Eius Exemplo, 1208).

The Catholic Church is not "of heretics", it is separated from them.

Heretics are also defined to be the "gates of hell". It is impossible that the gates of hell be inside the Catholic Church, when Christ said the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church in Matthew 16:

Pope Vigilius, Second Council of Constantinople, 553:

“… we bear in mind what was promised about the holy Church and Him who said the gates of Hell will not prevail against it (by these we understand the death-dealing tongues of heretics)…”  

For the Church has only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. (Ephesians 4:5).

Heretics Cannot Be Leaders of the Church

What is the proper response to the innumerable heresies promoted by the Vatican II council? It is to reject the Vatican II leaders as Antipopes, and not true Popes. How do we know this is the proper response?

The sedevacantists (those who hold the Church does not have a Pope at this time) correctly understand that heretics cannot be valid Popes. This has been taught an incredible number of times both dogmatically and as expressed in the canon law of the Church. We have already proven beyond all doubt that no heretic is Catholic or inside the Church. It is likewise impossible for a heretic to therefore be a true Pope. For example:

The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodoret, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact [that he holds to heresy] cut off from Catholic unity. "No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic" (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88). (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 1892).

Therefore, it is clear that those who deny even one teaching of the magisterium are not Catholic according to Satis Cognitum. But Leo XIII takes this even one step further. The false "Society of Saint Pius X" and other groups who claim to hold to tradition, yet still recognize the illegitimate Vatican II popes, fail to heed and follow this important statement also from Satis Cognitum:

“No one, therefore, unless in communion with Peter can share in his authority, since it is absurd to imagine that he who is outside can command in the Church.” (Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (#15), June 29, 1896).

This infallible statement (remember we demonstrated above that encyclical letters are the words of Jesus Himself), clearly indicates that those who are not in communion with Saint Peter are unable to share in any of his authority (the keys) given by Jesus Christ. Since heretics claiming to be Popes are outside the Church and thus communion with all of its members, including St. Peter, they are unable to share in St. Peter's authority and thus have no papal authority. This statement from Satis Cognitum settles once and for all the question of whether a heretic or apostate can have any authority to rule over the Catholic Church.

This principle defined by Pope Leo XIII dogmatically in Satis Cognitum is also reflected in the perennial canon law of the Catholic Church. The Code of Canon Law of 1917 section 2314 clearly states that heretics incur excommunication automatically, and without any declaration (ipso facto) (by the very fact). This is merely codifying into law the dogmatic principle already stated above, that there can only be one faith inside the Church, and that heretics are by the very fact of their holding a heresy cut off from the unity of the Church:

Can 2314 §1. Omnes a christiana fide apostatae et omnes et singuli haeretici aut schismatici: (all Christians who are apostates from the faith, and all heretics and all schismatics)
1º Incurrunt ipso facto excommunicationem; (incur automatic excommunication)

Further, the actual canon law states regarding heretical and schismatic clerics (bishops and priests) in section 188.4:

Can 188. Ob tacitam renuntiationem ab ipso iure admissam quaelibet officia vacant ipso facto et sine ulla declaratione, si clericus: a fide catholica publice defecerit (a cleric is silently resigned from his office automatically without official adjudication and without declaration if he publicly defects from the catholic faith).

This canon 188 even cites the papal bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio declared by Pope Paul IV in its footnotes (which declared that a public heretic, schismatic, or apostate cannot possibly be a Pope or other prelate):

“In addition, if ever at any time it shall appear that any Bishop, even if he be acting as an Archbishop, Patriarch or Primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church, or, as has already been mentioned, any legate, or even the Roman Pontiff, prior to his promotion or his elevation as Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has deviated from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy (i) the promotion or elevation, even if it shall have been uncontested and by the unanimous assent of all the Cardinals, shall be null, void and worthless; (ii) it shall not be possible for it to acquire validity (nor for it to be said that it has thus acquired validity) through the acceptance of the office, of consecration, of subsequent authority, nor through possession of administration, nor through the putative enthronement of a Roman Pontiff, or Veneration, or obedience accorded to such by all, nor through the lapse of any period of time in the foregoing situation; (iii) it shall not be held as partially legitimate in any way; (iv) to any so promoted to be Bishops, or Archbishops, or Patriarchs, or Primates or elevated as Cardinals, or as Roman Pontiff, no authority shall have been granted, nor shall it be considered to have been so granted either in the spiritual or the temporal domain; (v) each and all of their words, deeds, actions and enactments, howsoever made, and anything whatsoever to which these may give rise, shall be without force and shall grant no stability whatsoever nor any right to anyone; (vi) those thus promoted or elevated shall be deprived automatically, and without need for any further declaration, of all dignity, position, honour, title, authority, office and power.” (Pope Paul IV,Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, 1559)

It was recognized in the Papal Oath used from the time of Pope Saint Agatho (678-681) until the eleventh century that a pope could go against the tradition of the Church and therefore be immediately excommunicated from her.

I vow to change nothing of the received Tradition, and nothing thereof I have found before me guarded by my God-pleasing predecessors, to encroach upon, to alter, or to permit any innovation therein; To the contrary: with glowing affection as her truly faithful student and successor, to safeguard reverently the passed-on good, with my whole strength and utmost effort; To cleanse all that is in contradiction to the canonical order, should such appear; to guard the Holy Canons and Decrees of our Popes as if they were the divine ordinances of Heaven, because I am conscious of Thee, whose place I take through the grace of God, whose Vicarship I possess with thy support, being subject to severest accounting before thy Divine Tribunal over all that I shall confess; I swear to God Almighty and the Savior Jesus Christ that I will keep whatever has been revealed through Christ and His Successors and whatever the first councils and my predecessors have defined and declared. I will keep without sacrifice to itself the discipline and the rite of the Church. I will put outside the Church whoever dares to go against this oath, may it be someone else or I. If I should undertake to act in anything of contrary sense, or should permit that it will be executed, Thou willest not be merciful to me on the dreadful Day of Divine Justice. Accordingly, without exclusion, We subject to severest excommunication anyone - be it ourselves or be it another - who would dare to undertake anything new in contradiction of this constituted evangelical Tradition and the purity of the orthodox Faith and the Christian religion, or would seek to change anything by his opposing efforts, or would agree with those who undertake such a blasphemous venture. (Liber Diurnus Pontificum)

The Canonists, theologians, and saints teach and confirm the law and dogma that a public heretic (one who has clearly expressed heresy in the external forum before others) cannot be elected to the papacy, and would fall from the papacy:

Theologian Austin Dowling: “Though since Urban VI none but a cardinal has been elected pope, no law reserves to the cardinals alone this right. Strictly speaking, any male Christian who has reached the use of reason can be chosen, not, however, a heretic, a schismatic, or a notorious simonist.” (Conclave, 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia)

Theologian William H. Fanning: “A layman may also be elected as pope, as was Celestine V. Even the election of a married man would not be invalid. Of course the election of a heretic, schismatic, or female would be null and void.” (Papal Elections, 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia)

Canonist Caesar Badii: “The law now in force for the election of the Roman Pontiff is reduced to these points: […] Barred as incapable of being validly elected are the following: women, children who have not reached the age of reason, those suffering from habitual insanity, the unbaptised, heretics and schismatics.” (Institutiones Iuris Canonici,1921)

Canonist Wernz-Vidal: “All those who are not impeded by divine law or by an invalidating ecclesiastical law are validly eligible [to be elected pope]. Wherefore, a male who enjoys use of reason sufficient to accept election and exercise jurisdiction, and who is a true member of the Church can be validly elected, even though he be only a layman. Excluded as incapable of valid election, however, are all women, children who have not yet arrived at the age of discretion, those afflicted with habitual insanity, heretics and schismatics.” (Jus Canonicum, 1943)

Canonist Matthaeus Conte a Coronata: “Appointment to the office of the Primacy. What is required by divine law for this appointment: The person appointed must be a man who possesses the use of reason, due to the ordination the Primate must receive to possess the power of Holy Orders. This is required for the validity of the appointment. Also required for validity is that the man appointed be a member of the Church. Heretics and apostates (at least public ones) are therefore excluded.” (Institutiones Iuris Canonici, 1950)

Saint Antoninus (1389-1459): “In the case in which the pope would become a heretic, he would find himself, by that fact alone and without any other sentence, separated from the Church. A head separated from a body cannot, as long as it remains separated, be head of the same body from which it was cut off. A pope who would be separated from the Church by heresy, therefore, would by that very fact itself cease to be head of the Church. He could not be a heretic and remain pope, because, since he is outside of the Church, he cannot possess the keys of the Church.” (Summa Theologica. Quoted in Actes de Vatican I)

Saint Robert Bellarmine, Doctor (1542-1621): “Therefore, the true opinion is the fifth, according to which the Pope who is manifestly a heretic ceases by himself to be Pope and head, in the same way as he ceases to be a Christian and a member of the body of the Church; and for this reason he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the opinion of all the ancient Fathers, who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction, and outstandingly that of St. Cyprian (lib. 4, epist. 2) who speaks as follows of Novatian, who was Pope [i.e. antipope] in the schism which occurred during the pontificate of St. Cornelius: ‘He would not be able to retain the episcopate [i.e. of Rome], and, if he was made bishop before, he separated himself from the body of those who were, like him, bishops, and from the unity of the Church.’ According to what St. Cyprian affirms in this passage, even had Novatian been the true and legitimate Pope, he would have automatically fallen from the pontificate, if he separated himself from the Church. This is the opinion of great recent doctors, as John Driedo (lib. 4 de Script. et dogmat. Eccles., cap. 2, par. 2, sent. 2), who teaches that only they separate themselves from the Church who are expelled, like the excommunicated, and those who depart by themselves from her or oppose her, as heretics and schismatics. And in his seventh affirmation, he maintains that in those who turn away from the Church, there remains absolutely no spiritual power over those who are in the Church. Melchior Cano says the same (lib. 4 de loc., cap. 2), teaching that heretics are neither parts nor members of the Church, and that it cannot even be conceived that anyone could be head and Pope, without being member and part (cap. ult. ad argument. 12). And he teaches in the same place, in plain words, that occult heretics are still of the Church, they are parts and members, and that therefore the Pope who is an occult heretic is still Pope. This is also the opinion of the other authors whom we cite in book I De Ecclesia. The foundation of this argument is that the manifest heretic is not in any way a member of the Church, that is, neither spiritually nor corporally, which signifies that he is not such by internal union nor by external union. For even bad Catholics [i.e. who are not heretics] are united and are members, spiritually by faith, corporally by confession of faith and by participation in the visible sacraments; the occult heretics are united and are members although only by external union; on the contrary, the good catechumens belong to the Church only by an internal union, not by the external; but manifest heretics do not pertain in any manner, as we have already proved.” (De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30)

Saint Frances de Sales, Doctor (1567-1622): “Now when [the Pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church.” (The Catholic Controversy)

Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori, Doctor (1696-1787): “If, however, God were to permit a pope to become a notorious and contumacious heretic, he would by such a fact cease to be pope, and the apostolic chair would be vacant.” (Verita della Fede, III, VIII. 9-10)

Finally, three ecumenical councils posthumously anathematized Antipope Honorius (625-638) as a heretic who positively taught heresy in official papal letters:

“We find that these documents [including those of Honorius] are quite foreign to the apostolic dogmas, to the declarations of the holy Councils, and to all the accepted Fathers, and that they follow the false teachings of the heretics…there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what we found written by him to Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines…To Honorius, the heretic, anathema!… [The devil] has actively employed them [including Honorius]…we slew them [including Honorius] with anathema, as lapsed from the faith and as sinners, in the morning outside the camp of the tabernacle of God.”

Therefore, it is clear that just as and because a heretic is not in the Church, he cannot be a Pope or lead the Church either.

The Church and all Catholics have the Positive Responsibility to Establish a Living Pontiff

Sedevacantists will admit the obvious truth that the Vatican II leaders cannot be valid Popes based on the proofs We have just presented. Sedevacantists (traditionalists who believe that the Vatican II heretics cannot be the true Popes, but who believe the Church currently has no reigning Pope) nevertheless are skeptical of restoring a Pope in this time. They teach that we must somehow wait for some great miracle to select the Roman Pontiff. In doing this, they both sin against God and ignore the natural law concerning human society.

They sin against God by insisting that the Church must remain without a true Pope until some miraculous conclave takes place within the physical city of Rome, or that there must be some spectacular sign from heaven. They are deceived in believing this.  According to them, the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church and all jurisdiction is lost without divine miraculous intervention.  No miracle is needed, nor does the true Pope have to come from the city of Rome, but any Catholic male above the age of reason and who is not a lunatic is a possible candidate for becoming the true Pope. Further, the acquisition of a true Pope is not some miraculous process, but is simply a function of law. Generally, a true Pope will be selected through the election process. However, the first Pope, Peter, was designated and not elected. True Popes do not need to be elected, they could be designated by their predecessors.

It has been dogmatically defined, that the papacy has been established by a perpetual institution of Jesus Christ.  This means that it is a perpetual and continuous Divine Law that the Church never cease to be working to have a Roman Pontiff, as decreed from the Chair by Pope Pius IX in 1870:

Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself, that is to say, by Divine Law, that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole church; or that the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.  (Pius IX, Vatican I Council, Session 4, 18 July 1870, ex cathedra).

The duty to establish a living Pontiff, therefore, even when no Cardinals are left, is clear and unassailable.  Every Catholic must act to establish a living Pontiff, because it is a perpetual institution of Christ by Divine Law.

Not only is this proven dogmatically, but it is also  obvious having a Pope is better for the Church than not having one even according the basic natural law concerning societies, and the spiritual benefits are innumerably more than not having one. Christ, through His natural law, has ordained that men are bound to uphold and establish the moral leadership of every civil society, and this obviously includes the divine society of the Church (both as state and as ecclesia).

These arguments are irrefutable.

Procedure or Mode of Selecting the True Pope

The procedure for selecting a true Pope when the canon law of election is no longer applicable (as it is today, since there are no Catholic Cardinals left to elect a true Pope by the normal way, as they all became members of the Vatican II apostate sect) is based upon the natural moral philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas, which has been infallibly approved by the Catholic Church as flawless. Pope Pius XI, in his Encyclical Studiorum Ducem (On Thomas Aquinas), declared:

We so heartily approve the magnificent tribute of praise bestowed upon this most divine genius that We consider that Thomas should be called not only the Angelic, but also the Common or Universal Doctor of the Church; for the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own, as innumerable documents of every kind attest. It would be an endless task to explain here all the reasons which moved Our Predecessors in this respect, and it will be sufficient perhaps to point out that Thomas wrote under the inspiration of the supernatural spirit which animated his life and that his writings, which contain the principles of, and the laws governing, all sacred studies, must be said to possess a universal character.

Therefore, since the Pontiff Pius XI declared in an authoritative Encyclical that the Church has adopted the philosophy of Aquinas as its own,  it therefore must be infallible. When the entire Church teaches something regarding morals, it is part of the ordinary and universal teaching authority and is infallible:

Wherefore, by Divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium [teaching authority]. (Pope Pius IX, Vatican I Council, Decree on Faith, Infallible, 1879)

What does Aquinas teach about whether a Pope may be selected outside of the normal course of canon law? Aquinas teaches the moral and natural principle of "Epikeia" (also known as “Equity”):

I answer that, As stated above (I-II, 96, 6), when we were treating of laws, since human actions, with which laws are concerned, are composed of contingent singulars and are innumerable in their diversity, it was not possible to lay down rules of law that would apply to every single case. Legislators in framing laws attend to what commonly happens: although if the law be applied to certain cases it will frustrate the equality of justice and be injurious to the common good, which the law has in view. Thus the law requires deposits to be restored, because in the majority of cases this is just. Yet it happens sometimes to be injurious--for instance, if a madman were to put his sword in deposit, and demand its delivery while in a state of madness, or if a man were to seek the return of his deposit in order to fight against his country. On these and like cases it is bad to follow the law, and it is good to set aside the letter of the law and to follow the dictates of justice and the common good. This is the object of "epikeia" which we call equity. Therefore it is evident that "epikeia" is a virtue. (Summa Theologica, II of II, Q 120).

Therefore, Boniface X was permitted to set aside Pius XII's precise laws regarding proper papal election (which are incapable of being followed since there are no Catholic Cardinals) and follow the dictates of justice and the common good, in ascending to the papal throne by designation instead of election.

To restate: since there were no Catholic Cardinals, the precise law of Pius XII regarding papal election by Cardinals could not be followed.  Therefore, Boniface X was designed the Pontiff by Pius XII through the infallible principle of “equity/epikeia” as taught by Aquinas.  We can assume that in this time of grave emergency and apostasy of all the Cardinals, and in consideration that Christ positively commands the Church to have a papacy perpetually and in every age, that Pius XII (Boniface X’s immediate predecessor) would forsake the precise letter of the law, and instead offer the papacy to any Catholic male able and willing to accept it for the good of the Church.  Pius XII would do this using the infallible principle of “epikeia/equity” taught by Aquinas and confirmed by Pope Pius XI in Studiorum Ducem.

Election Not Absolutely Necessary, Designation of a Pontiff is Permissible by Equity/Epikeia

Some have objected that, by some Divine law, an actual election by a majority vote (rather than by designation) is required before we can have a Pope (based on their own conjecture that this is a Divine law without evidence).  Others might even argue that in an attempted election they would not accept the election as being certain unless certain established procedures are followed.  They then attempt to exclude any election or method of selection of the Roman Pontiff that does not comport with their specific and strict criterion in this time of emergency.  This is a very dangerous error.  

First, it is important to remember that Peter, the first pope, was not elected, he was designated by Christ (and some say Boniface X is to be like Peter, since he is called Petrus Romanus by Saint Malachy).  

But even more than the example of Saint Peter, there are infallible arguments for the legitimacy of designation long after Christ and the apostles, and even a papal legal decree binding the Church, which was recently rediscovered in the nineteenth century.  John Creagh, D.D. in his article A Hereditary Papacy to points out some extremely dispositive and interesting intrinsic argumentation and information, he writes:

There seems no doubt that certain records of episcopal designations were found in the histories of Sozomen, Rufinus, Theodoretus, and the works of some of the Fathers.  St. Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, designated his successor as St. Athanasius, St. Athanasius designated Peter; Valerius designated St. Augustine.  And although the question in these cases is not of papal designation in particular, we are authorized to draw from them the conclusion that these eminent and holy prelates who actually did designate successors in the episcopal office were far from holding the opinion that election is the only means of determine succession, or that designation is contrary to divine or natural law.

The language of Eusebius too, has a special meaning and a special importance for us when he refers to the early occupants of the Chair of Saint Peter.  Speaking of the appointment of more than one Pope e.g. Linus, Anacletus, Evaristus, Lucius, he uses terms which imply that papal nomination sufficed without any electoral proceedings.  There is simply a transmission of power, a giving of authority, a passing from hand to hand; and not in the most remote reference to election.  And while in general an argument drawn from the mere language of an historical narrative might be looked at rather askance, it is well to remember that the author whom we are quoting enjoys a reputation for his accurate use of terms, and that, being himself a Bishop, he was not ignorant of the different modes of elevation to the episcopate and of the precise words proper to each.  Moreover, we must allow that when he speaks of those Sees in which elections were invariably held, he uses terminology which implies that election as necessarily as that to which we referred above excludes it.  The presumption therefore is that Eusebius meant precisely what he said.

But have we really no close and clearer evidence of actual papal designation, which would make the appeal to Eusebius superfluous?…

Something less ambiguous in the way of precedent is surely desirable.  A clear, incontestable instance of designation will not only complete and perfect what has been said in favor of designation; it will silence all contradiction.  And indeed, such an instance has recently come to light. Since 1883 we have been in possession of documents that establish at least one case of designation, apodictically, so as to need no commentary.  In that year, Amelli, an official in the Ambrosian library at Milan, discovered some manuscript Acta in the chapter library at Novara.  Critical examination has pronounced these documents authentic, and they throw a clear light on the hitherto mooted question as to the possibility of designation.  They give us a plain and intelligible statement of the manner in which Boniface II was raised to the Pontificate.  The historical moment is a solemn one.  Pope Felix IV is at the point of death.  He publicly, in the presence of the clergy, senate, and patricians of Rome, confers his pallium, the emblem of his sovereign ecclesiastical power, on the Archdeacon Boniface.  He declares the Archdeacon his successor.  We need not stretch or torture into the desired meaning the words of the record, or exhaust the resources of interpretation, in order to gather this from the document.  It states that those who refuse to recognize the validity of the Papal designation, or who fail to render due reverence, and obedience to Boniface as Pope, incur excommunication ipso facto; and that none may plead ignorance of this important act, the decree which embodies it is affixed to the doors of all the churches, and sent even to King Athalaric at Ravenna.  

In an interesting coincidence then (perhaps a sign from God), it appears another Boniface (Boniface II) was also appointed and designated, rather than elected.  There can therefore be no doubt, once the intrinsic evidence is considered, including original manuscripts, that papal designation is permissible and in accord with Divine law.  This is especially true when we consider that Felix could not bind acceptance of Boniface II on pain of anathema, if it was not also ratified in heaven, in light of the numerous dogmatic proclamations that canon laws cannot lead to superstition, uselessness, or falsehood.

Fascinatingly, there is yet another example that seems to bypass the author of A Hereditary Papacy. In fact, the author dismisses it as not a strong argument.  But when we consider his argument in light of dogmatic declarations of the Pontiffs, it becomes a most weighty argument in favour of designation.  Almost mystifyingly (until we realize perhaps he was not thinking of the dogma we have in mind), Creagh writes:

There exists a record of at least one case of designation, that of Vigilius by Boniface II [yes an immediate successor of the Pontiff who was himself designated by Felix IV, thus showing once again that Boniface II considered his designation of Vigilius to be licit, because he himself was designated].  But this, so far from favoring the practice, rather discountenances it.  It raised such a tumult of indignation that Boniface repented of his act and nullified it.  He even publicly burned the decree wherein Vigilius’ promotion had been published.  

Creagh’s argument here, while citing an interesting example, is not persuasive insofar as he thinks this example discountenances designation.  The key comes when we consider this example in light of the infallible declaration of Pius VI in Auctorem Fidei (1794):

The prescription of the Synod about the order of transacting business in the conferences, in which, after it prefaced 'in every article that pertains to the faith and to the essence of religion must be distinguished from that which is proper to discipline', it adds 'in this itself (discipline) there is to be distinguished what is necessary or useful to maintain the faithful in spirit, from that which is useless or too burdensome for the liberty of the sons of the new covenant to endure, but moreso, from that which is dangerous or harmful, namely, leading to superstition or materialism'; insofar as by the generality of the words it includes and submits to a prescribed examination even the discipline established and approved by the Church, as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism, -false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous.

Gregory XVI reiterates the same principle in his Encyclical Mirari Vos (1832):

In this you must labor and diligently take care that the faith may be preserved amidst this great conspiracy of impious men who attempt to tear it down and destroy it. May all remember the judgment concerning sound doctrine with which the people are to be instructed. Remember also that the government and administration of the whole Church rests with the Roman Pontiff to whom, in the words of the Fathers of the Council of Florence, "the full power of nourishing, ruling, and governing the universal Church was given by Christ the Lord."   It is the duty of individual bishops to cling to the See of Peter faithfully, to guard the faith piously and religiously, and to feed their flock. It behooves priests to be subject to the bishops, whom "they are to look upon as the parents of their souls," as Jerome admonishes.  Nor may the priests ever forget that they are forbidden by ancient canons to undertake ministry and to assume the tasks of teaching and preaching "without the permission of their bishop to whom the people have been entrusted; an accounting for the souls of the people will be demanded from the bishop."  Finally let them understand that all those who struggle against this established order disturb the position of the Church.

Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the rights of the Church and her ministers are embraced.

It is clear then, that Boniface II’s original decree, so long as he allowed it to remain in effect, was the discipline of the Church for the designation of his successor, for it reckoned the rights of its ministers.  No matter the popular outcry, the decree which was in effect, was the law of the Church.  We know that this law was honored in heaven, because the discipline established by the Church can never be harmful, even if it is unpopular.  Thus, any who did not cry against Boniface II’s decree, but accepted it, were in the right camp even if the minority, holding fast to what could never be dangerous or harmful to them.  Further, we know that the discipline designating his successor was not “useless” (such an idea is also condemned by the dogma), and therefore that it was a valid designation, even if unpopular.  As a result, the mere fact that Boniface II passed a decree that designated a successor, even though later rejected as unpopular, is enough, in light of this dogma, to show that a Pope may designate a successor, for the Pope could not pass a useless or invalid law that could lead to superstition.  Yes, it is true that Boniface II later repealed this law because of its unpopularity (even to the point of burning it), but that cannot refute the fact that for a time it was indeed the law, and therefore was indeed valid and leading to a true and valid legal principle that was neither useless nor leading to superstition (falsehood).

Further, it can be established by a number of canonists, that no election by majority vote of prelates or laypersons is needed by Divine Law to select a Pope when the precise canon law is unable to be followed.  It certainly is not needed by natural law generally in societies, as many rulers rule by heredity, appointment, or some other legal mode of selection.  Many respected canonists have written that they believe a Pope can directly be appointed.  

It is quite clear from history that Popes have been chosen without a formal election process with multiple electors.  Boniface II, was specifically appointed by Pope Felix IV on his death bed, on pain of dire excommunication. About sixty of about the total of seventy Roman priests disregarded this designation, and instead elected an Antipope named Dioscorus. Antipope Dioscorus died less than one month after the rebellious election, at the hand of God. The popular choice of the schismatic Roman clergy resulted not in a Pope, but Antipope. God did not honor the election, but instead He honored the appointment by Our Predecessor Felix IV.  Boniface II then took this precedent, and validly used it to appoint Vigilius as his successor, until he decided to revoke it.

As another lesser example, one could cite to Pope John X being made the Pope by a faction of the secular Roman nobility, headed by Theophylact of Tusculum.  This appointment was even against the canon law requiring election, declared at Lateran Council in 769A.D. Nevertheless, for the good of the Church (equity) he was popularly considered the Roman Pontiff ever since, without election of the Roman clergy or even designation by a prior Pontiff.

The Pope Does Not Need to Be a Bishop

Normally the Pope is also bishop of Rome, and all Popes must be willing to become bishop of Rome as soon as possible. Nevertheless, a man becomes the Pope, successor to the Prince of the Apostles, upon election or designation to the Apostolic See even before he is a bishop. As Our Predecessor Pius XII declared in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, which was the last official papal procedure decreed for election of the Pope prior to the Great Apostasy- a man can accept the papacy and obtain jurisdiction over the whole world prior to his ordination as bishop. Our Predecessor Pius XII wrote in Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis #7, December 8, 1945 that the “one elected” (clearly evincing whoever it may be whether lay, deacon, priest, or bishop) becomes Pontiff the moment he accepts the position:

When the canonical election has taken place, the junior Cardinal Deacon summons the Secretary of the Sacred College, the Prefect of Apostolic Ceremonies and two Masters of Ceremonies into the chapel, and the Dean of the Sacred College in the name of all asks the one elected whether he accepts the office. He must express his acceptance or refusal of the office within the period of time determined by the Sacred College by majority vote of the Cardinals. The moment he accepts, he is the true Pope and obtains and may exercise full and absolute jurisdiction over the whole world. The Dean asks him what name he chooses. The acceptance of the office and the choice of a name are then certified by document. This done, the Cardinals show the first "adoration" to the new Pope and the Te Deum is sung, after which the first Cardinal Deacon announces the new Pope to the people, before whom after a short interval the new Pope appears and gives the blessing Urbi et Orbi. This is followed by the second "adoration" by the Cardinals. The Conclave is then opened at the command of the Pope and this is certified by document. Those outside who are accustomed to be admitted are then brought in for the "adoration." The third adoration by the Cardinals is left for a time to be set by the Pope and announced by the Prefect of Apostolic Ceremonies. If the one elected is not a priest or bishop, he is to be ordained or consecrated by the Dean of the Sacred College, who in this case wears the palium. In the absence of the Dean, this privilege belongs to the Subdean; and if he, too, is absent, to the senior Cardinal Suburbicarian Bishop. Finally, the coronation of the new Pope by the first Cardinal Deacon takes place.'

Therefore, the moment the “one elected” (or where no election would be had, the one appointed) accepts the position, he is the Pope, whether or not he is yet ordained.  We know it does not matter whether the one who accepts the position is elected or appointed by law or equity insofar as the immediate conferral of jurisdiction is concerned, because the jurisdiction is conferred directly by Jesus Christ and is not mediated by the ecclesiastical hierarchy (see below).  Thus the jurisdiction does not depend on the election of the Church, but on the conferral according to law or equity (in the unusual case where the letter of the law is not suitable).

Lest any should doubt the meaning of this Canon, Our Predecessor Pope Pius XII himself offered an authoritative interpretation of this canon in a speech regarding the Catholic laity twelve years later in 1957. His decision to officially interpret this canon is surely providential. Pius XII was the last true Pope immediately preceding Pope Boniface X. He issued his interpretation about one year before his death. Only a few decades later it would be necessary that Boniface X be able to cite clear legal authority regarding his legitimacy. Since God knew that Boniface X would not able to be consecrated a bishop right away (as there were no faithful bishops willing to consecrate him), it was necessary for God to make abundantly clear to all of the faithful that Pope Boniface X would still hold full jurisdictional authority over the Church even as a lay Catholic. Anyone who attempts to interpret the canon differently than the interpretation of Pope Pius XII seeks to argue with Papal legal authority. The faithful are bound to adhere to all Papal interpretation of canon law, by the Pope's apostolic guidance and authority. The canonical interpretation of a true Pope must be revered above the private opinion of some other person or canonist, as the Pontiff is the Supreme Judge. This is the very nature of submission to spiritual authority in the Church of Christ. The Holy Father, Pius XII, stated regarding the authority of a Pontiff prior to episcopal consecration in Guiding Principles of the Lay Apostolate, October 5, 1957:

Thus a two-fold distinction must be taken into account when we speak of the "hierarchical apostolate" and the "lay apostolate;" first, between pope, bishops, and priests, on the one hand, and laymen on the other; second-within the ranks of the clergy itself-between those with full power to consecrate and govern, and the rest of the clergy. The first (pope, bishops, and priests) necessarily belong to the clergy. Even if a layman were elected pope, he could accept the election only if he were fit for ordination and willing to be ordained. But the power to teach and govern, as well as the divine gift of infallibility, would be granted to him from the very moment of his acceptance, even before his ordination.

Not surprisingly, the moment Vatican II was implemented Antipope Paul VI attempted to erase this principle, and reworded the law to declare that only bishops would be the Pontiff the moment of their acceptance of the position. Satan attempted, in vain, to hide this important principle of a lay Pontiff from the world.

Anyone who sees these arguments and still denies that Boniface X has the power to teach and to govern all Catholics before his ordination, and refuses to submit to his jurisdiction to further the Kingdom of God on earth, have opposed God and His Church.

It can also be demonstrated definitively and without doubt that the law of election is also infallible.

It was declared in the Bull Auctorem Fidei (Errors of the Synod of Pistoia) issued by Our Predecessor Pius VI on August 6, 1794, that

The prescription of the Synod about the order of transacting business in the conferences, in which, after it prefaced 'in every article that pertains to the faith and to the essence of religion must be distinguished from that which is proper to discipline', it adds 'in this itself (discipline) there is to be distinguished what is necessary or useful to maintain the faithful in spirit, from that which is useless or too burdensome for the liberty of the sons of the new covenant to endure, but moreso, from that which is dangerous or harmful, namely, leading to superstition or materialism'; insofar as by the generality of the words it includes and submits to a prescribed examination even the discipline established and approved by the Church, as if the Church which is ruled by the Spirit of God could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful and leading to superstition and materialism, -false, rash, scandalous, dangerous, offensive to pious ears, injurious to the Church and to the Spirit of God by whom it is guided, at least erroneous.

Gregory XVI reiterates the same principle in his Encyclical Mirari Vos (1832):

In this you must labor and diligently take care that the faith may be preserved amidst this great conspiracy of impious men who attempt to tear it down and destroy it. May all remember the judgment concerning sound doctrine with which the people are to be instructed. Remember also that the government and administration of the whole Church rests with the Roman Pontiff to whom, in the words of the Fathers of the Council of Florence, "the full power of nourishing, ruling, and governing the universal Church was given by Christ the Lord."   It is the duty of individual bishops to cling to the See of Peter faithfully, to guard the faith piously and religiously, and to feed their flock. It behooves priests to be subject to the bishops, whom "they are to look upon as the parents of their souls," as Jerome admonishes.  Nor may the priests ever forget that they are forbidden by ancient canons to undertake ministry and to assume the tasks of teaching and preaching "without the permission of their bishop to whom the people have been entrusted; an accounting for the souls of the people will be demanded from the bishop."  Finally let them understand that all those who struggle against this established order disturb the position of the Church.

Furthermore, the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority. In this discipline the administration of sacred rites, standards of morality, and the reckoning of the rights of the Church and her ministers are embraced.

Therefore, it is plain that no discipline established and approved by the Church can lead to superstition or dangerous falsehood.

Even after citing to the canon law itself according to its plain and natural reading of the language, and also citing to the public interpretation of the supreme adjudicator of the same law in the person of Pius XII that the elected one need not yet be ordained, some rash persons may still object that canon law need not always be interpreted literally.

First, a discussion of the principles of interpretation of the canons is in order.  How does one actually interpret canon law, and what are the principles of its interpretation?  A highly authoritative English canonist (Charles Augustine Bachofen) describes the principles of authentic (as opposed to private) interpretation of canon law in this manner:

By interpretation we mean explanation of the will of the legislator taken from the wording of the text.  As the Roman Emperors issued interpretations of obscure texts, so did the Popes, first and above all in matters of faith, but also, especially after authentic collections had been published, in disciplinary matters.  The Council of Trent decreed that authentic interpretations should be given by the authority from which the law emanated.  The S.C. Council was especially charged with interpreting the Tridentine decrees.  Besides as the juris-consults, too, rendered decisions or explanations, so did the canonists proffer their explanations, which at times were sought for, or at least accepted by, the Roman Court.  Thus we have twofold interpretation, authentic and private.  An authentic interpretation proceeds from the maker of the law [thus the public interpretation by Pius XII in his Guiding Principles of the Lay Apostolate would be an authentic interpretation except to the extent it was not actually given in the form of a law itself].

But ultimately, we are not concerned with an authentic interpretation (except insofar as, perhaps, Pius XII’s public interpretation of his own law may be deemed authentic).  Rather ,the most pertinent aspect of the analysis is actually the principle of private interpretation of the law, which does not bear the designation of official interpretation and its authority, since for purposes of this argument, one must assume the person reading these arguments has not yet accepted the authority of Boniface X. As a result, we must refer to the acceptable principles of private interpretation of the canons. Bachofen continues:

Private interpretation, viz, one given by jurisconsults not commissioned by the lawgiver, or by expert canonists (doctors), must be made in conformity with certain rules which are necessary for the right understanding of ecclesiastical- in fact of all- law.  These rules are, of course, generally obeyed also by the authentic interpretors, but they are of importance especially in private interpretation and for those who wish to read and study Canon Law rightly.  These rules are briefly the following: Canon 18- Leges ecclesiasticae intelligendae sunt secundum propriam verborum significationem in textu et contextu consideratam; quae si dubia et obscura manserit, ad locos Codicis parallelos, si qui sint, ad leges finem ad circumstantias et ad mentem legislatoris est recurendum.  [Translated].  Ecclesiastical laws must be understood according to the proper meaning of the words considered in their context; if the meaning remains doubtful and obscure, recourse must be had to parallel texts in the Code, if there are any, to the purpose of the law and the circumstances surrounding it, and to the mind of the lawgiver. Ecclesiastical laws must be interpreted in light of their wording, as borne out by the context.  Hither belong various rules culled from the Roman and the Canon law: “Ubi verba non sunt ambigua, non est locus interpretationi”; “verba sunt intelligenda secundum propriam significationem” (i.e. in their usual and common signification); “verba generalia generaliter sunt sumenda” and “Ubi lex non distinguit, neque nos distinguiere debemus.”  The context too must be considered, for it may be useful to compare words or sentences in the order or connection which they have with one another. … The mind of the legislator must, of course, first and foremost be deduced from the words of the law.  Circumstances, context, subject, etc., also help to disclose the mind of the legislator, as well as the ratio legis, which is called the soul of the law…. But we must guard against the assumption that the true mind of the legislator may be carried into the text.  Hence if all the means so far enumerated fail in discovering the true mind of the legistlator , nothing is left but to make direct inquiry by petitioning the competent authority.  Therefore, we sometimes read “iuxta mentem” and the “mens” is set for explicitly; but sometimes it must be guessed at, as said before.

Thus, according to Bachofen, the essential goal of the interpreter of the canons is to achieve and obtain the mind of the legislator (“iuxta mentem”).  Well, can there be any doubt that Pius XII demonstrated what was his mind regarding the intepretation of his own law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, in his speech On the Guiding Principles of the Lay Apostolate already quoted above?  Therefore, according to the very accepted principles of the private interpretation of canon law as drawn by Bachofen from the canonical authorities (even without assuming Boniface X’s authority beforehand), even a standard private interpretor of the law must conclude that the proper interpretation of Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis is that the “one elected” definitively means the “one elected”, whether cleric or layman.  Pius XII could not be clearer in his own speech regarding his interpretation.  Clearly, God was working through Pius XII to make the legitimacy of a lay Pontiff as clear as possible before the Great Apostasy was initiated by his false successor Antipope John XXIII.

It is important to keep in mind of course, that we speak of the interpretation of canon law in this section.  Dogmas, alternatively, (unlike canon law) are always to be interpreted as they are declared (word for word).

Finally, as if we had not already proven our point on the interpretation of Pius XII’s law to a virtual certainty, the end of the law of papal election, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, states:

Therefore, let it be permitted to no man to weaken this page of Our constitution, ordinance, abrogation, commandment, binding order, warning, prohibition, precept, and will, or to go against it by a rash undertaking. Moreover, if any one presumes to attempt this, let him know that he will incur for it the anger of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Is the law Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis of Pius XII a discipline “established and approved" by the Church? It definitely is. For the Pontiff, as head of all Christians, approved the law, and therefore all Christians who did not wish to fall into schism also implicitly approved it.  The entire Church therefore approved this law, since any who did not at least implicitly approve it would “go against” the decree, and commit schism against the Roman Pontiff.

Jurisdiction of a Lay Roman Pontiff is not Conferred by any Bishop but Directly by Jesus Christ

Some have heretically asserted that a layman cannot have genuine jurisdiction from Christ until there is some living bishop somewhere that explicitly consents to his papacy, even in times of dire emergency.  This is disproven directly from Vatican I Council.  Vatican I asserts that form of government established by Christ in Peter is a direct conferral, it is not mediated through the Church (and thus not mediated through its hierarchy).  Once the Pontiff has been chosen by election or designated (including through equity/epikeia), the jurisdiction comes directly from Christ to Peter and his successors. Therefore, if in a time of emergency a lay man must temporarily assume the throne of Peter and consider himself to be designated by God’s law of equity, he does not need the consent of any Catholic bishop with apostolic orders to have the resulting jurisdiction, nor does it need to be conferred upon him by a living Catholic bishop with orders:

“To this absolutely manifest teaching of the Sacred Scriptures, as it has always been understood by the Catholic Church, are clearly opposed the distorted opinions of those who misrepresent the form of government which Christ the lord established in his Church and… assert that this primacy was not conferred immediately and directly on blessed Peter himself, but rather on the Church, and that it was through the Church that it was transmitted to him in his capacity as her minister.” (Vatican I, Session 4, Chapter 1, July 18, 1870).

We therefore see that the jurisdiction of Peter was conferred directly by Christ.  Does this continue in his successors?  Absolutely, Vatican I went on to state in the very next section:

That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent benefit of the Church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ's authority, in the Church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time. (Vatican I, Session 4, Chapter 2, July 18, 1870)

Therefore the form of government established in the Church through Peter, as defined in Chapter 1 of Session 4, which confers jurisdiction immediately from Christ to the Supreme Pontiff, must of necessity remain for ever.  As a result, no faithful Catholic bishop, priest, or deacon with holy orders is needed to exist on the earth, in order for jurisdiction be provided by equity, since the jurisdiction is obtained directly and immediately from Jesus Christ Himself.  As a result, even if the only faithful remaining Catholics are laymen, a faithful Catholic lay man can use equity to obtain the Pontificate, without there being any Catholic bishop or priest on earth; and does not need the consent of any living bishop or priest to ascend the throne.  The jurisdiction conferred is direct from Jesus Christ, and it is immediate.

A Hidden Pontiff

Another objection commonly raised by the skeptic is how does one know Boniface X is the true Pontiff, and that there is not some Pontiff somewhere who already holds to all the dogma, of whom most of the world is not yet aware.  As a result, is it not possible one would be submitting to a false Pontiff?  The answer to this criticism is easily refuted.  First, Pope Boniface X passed a canon law which declares automatic submission to any hidden Pontiff through the same principle of Epikeia (the same principle that established the appointment of Boniface X):

In order that the principles of equity and justice through unity are preserved, and so that all doubt of conscience and burden may be relieved of the faithful, We, by Our Apostolic Authority, enact the following law:

Though We and all those known to Us, in regions round about, are unaware of any Pontiff who holds to all of the true dogmas who was either appointed or elected prior to Us by law or equity, We declare the following:

Insofar as such a Pontiff might possibly exist (however improbable), in the event he does exist, We declare Our own submission to such a Pontiff, and all of Our decrees whereby We have called Ourselves the Pontiff shall be construed to mean Vicegerent of the true Pontiff, through Equity (Epikeia), solely of those regions he is not known to exist in, until this hidden Pontiff is found, so that the Church may in the meantime be unified where an authority is at least known to exist. This authority, like the authority of the ultimate Pontificate, is also established through equity, so that at least until this possible hidden Pontiff is found, the faithful shall have a place to obtain judgments and a source of unity of jurisdiction.

Therefore, let it be known by this Our law that We enact, that all who submit to this papacy, are by no means therefore withdrawing their submission to any possible true ultimate hidden Pontiff that may exist but is hidden to their vision or knowledge.

The moment such a Pontiff may be found, who holds to all the true dogmas like We do, once it is established that his papacy existed prior to Our papacy, all due obeisance would have to be given and homage shown to him as the highest Pontiff.

It is the fallible opinion of the Apostolic See that such a higher Pontiff does not exist in reality, but if he does so exist, then even now We implicitly render Our homage and all the faithful are to do the same, such that by obeying our decrees and submitting to Us, they are also in conscience consoled that they through equity submit to this higher hidden Pontiff should he exist.

Therefore, there remains no excuse, in justice or equity, to refrain from submission to Boniface X.  For “We declare, We Proclaim, We define that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature that they submit to the Roman Pontiff” (Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, 1302). ”

As a result of this law, according to the law enacted by Pope Boniface X, any man who submits to Pope Boniface X still implicitly submits to a ultimate hidden Pontiff that may exist somewhere. Therefore, there is no danger that by submitting to Pope Boniface X, you are somehow no longer submitting to the true Pontiff, in the event of the unlikely occurrence that Pope Boniface X is not the true Pontiff.

As aptly reiterated by Pius XI in his encyclical Mortalium Animos:

Iamvero in hac una Christi Ecclesia nemo est, perseverai nemo, nisi Petri, legitimorumque eius successorum, auctoritatem potestatemque obediendo agnoscat acque accipiat.

What does this say? It says that no man can be or remain in the Church of Christ unless he obeys, knows, and accepts the “authority” (auctoritatem) and “jurisdiction” (potestemque) of Peter and his legitimate successors.

Therefore, it is beyond dispute, that the safest course for any man, is to render submission to the papacy of Boniface X.

The Divine Laws of Submission, Hope, and Charity Compel Every Honest Catholic to Submit to Boniface X, Even if There is Subjective Doubt, Because if a Catholic Does Submit He Incurs No Added Risk to His Salvation, but if He Does Not Submit, He Risks Eternal Fire

Finally, if any doubts could remain after reading the sections preceding this, it is appropriate to reference the law of charity which is simply stated:

“Being subject one to another, in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).  

Boniface X does not claim the papacy for his own aggrandizement.  This is not his intention.  His intention is simply service to the will of Christ and following the law of Christ, which commands the Church to have a Pontiff as a perpetual command, as was defined at Vatican I (already mentioned above).  Therefore, as Pontiff, he sees himself as the servant of the faithful, indeed the ultimate servant.  And seeking to fill himself with the charity of God, he calls himself what all of his Predecessors also called themselves: “the servant of the servants of God”. Therefore, just as he seeks to submit to the faithful, in his role as the Pontiff, so also Catholics should submit to Him, since even if they doubt, it is still possible he holds the very keys given to Peter.

Therefore, even if there is any slight doubt about the papacy of Boniface X, even so all should submit to him as the Pontiff, because the law of charity bids that all Catholics be subject to one another out of the fear of Christ.  Is there not a slight doubt for almost every Pontiff except charity and faith cause all to accept that Pontiff?  For who knows if anyone in the past was disqualified on a technicality, given almost each conclave was secret?  Yet still, men submit in charity and hope.  Because charity and hope are intended to override all such scruples and doubts.

It is therefore far safer for the soul, to submit to Boniface X in charity and hope, than to deny him.  For if you admit it is even possible that Boniface X is the Pope, why would you add to the problem of remaining without a Pope, by failing to submit to him, when it does no danger to your soul to submit to him?  For if he holds to all of the dogmas, and if the law of charity already bids you to submit to all Catholics in the fear of Christ out of charity and kindness, what danger is it to your soul if you submit to him, and add upon yourself the yoke of a few additional laws?  If you submit to him in charity, and it turns out he is not the Pope, you have incurred no damnation, because in your doubt you remained open that it is possible the seat is vacant or there could be some other hidden Pope, and you did not separate yourself therefore from the government of the Catholic Church because of your confusion over who is the Pope.

There is actually no danger then in submitting, even with doubts.  For submitting to a fellow Catholic is the command of Christ, whether he be the Pontiff or not.  

But, if a Catholic does not submit to Boniface X, and he is the Pontiff, Christ has made Himself very clear: that Catholic will fall outside the Church, and depart into the lake of fire, because submission to the Roman Pontiff is required for salvation and membership in the Body of Christ.  Thus, if a Catholic submits, he does not endanger his soul but simply fulfills the command to be “subject to one another”.  But if a Catholic does not submit, he risks eternal perdition itself.  

Therefore, why be uncharitable and withhold submission, and risk the eternal perdition of the soul, when a man can burden himself with a few extra canons and commands, and submit to this papacy, not only promoting the return of a living Pope for the entire Church, but also promoting charity among all Catholics who are truly holding the dogmas?  Can it be doubted that Saint Vincent Ferrer, in that time of great confusion during the great schism, doubtlessly submitted as far as he was able to all claimants until that time of confusion came to an end, even if in his fallible opinion he may have preferred one to another?