He Is Pope. Elected by All the Rules


An authoritative canonist rebuts the arguments of those who view Bergoglio’s election as invalid and therefore do not recognize him as pope. But uncertainties remain about the maneuvers that preceded the white smoke

by Sandro Magister

ROME, January 5, 2015 – Even after the unveiling of the names of those whom Pope Francis will elevate to the scarlet in the second round of cardinalate appointments of his pontificate, the conclave that elected him pope remains tinged with shadows.

Naturally, there is no conclave that does not draw together the threads of “maneuvers” aimed at the election of one or another candidate to the papacy. They are “maneuvers” that may mature in a few days, or even in a few hours. Or they may go on for years. Even their innocence can be of varying levels. So much so that the apostolic constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis,” which regulates the election of the popes, expressly invalidates “any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind” that in exchange for the vote would lay claim to bind the future elect.

In an article last July 1, www.chiesa demonstrated in what sense and to what extent the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio could approach – without being equated with one – a pact of this kind, seeing the insistence with which the current pope says that he “follows what the cardinals asked for during the general congregations before the conclave”:

But this in fact has to do with the natural dynamic of every papal election. And it is what the English vaticanista Austen Ivereigh has brought to light in a passage from his recent book on Pope Francis, “The Great Reformer,” identifying cardinals Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Walter Kasper, Karl Lehmann, and Godfried Danneels as four active promoters of the election of Bergoglio.

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