Peaceful and Universal Acceptance Quotes (from the 15th to 21st Century)

List of authors who taught the doctrine.

1)    Fr. E. Sylvester Berry, The Church of Christ (1927), Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009, pp. 288-290.
2) Cardinal, D. Ioannis Claudii Puteobonelli ... In primam (-tertiam) partem d. Thomæ quæstiones selectæ: In primam secundae S. Thomae Quaestiones selectae, Volume 2, ex typographia Iosephi Pandulphi Malatestae, 1707, Quest V Art II
3)    Monsignor G. Van Noort, Christ’s Church, Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1957, p. 153 (emphasis added).
4)    Louis Cardinal Billot, De Ecclesia Christi, (1909), "Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi", I, Editio quinta, apud aedes Universitatis Gregorianae, Romae, p. 623
5)    Cardinal Journet, The Church of the Word Incarnate (1955), (London and New York: Sheed and Ward, 1955), pp. 481-482
6)    Monsignor G Van Noort, Sources of Revelation (Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1957), p. 265
7)    Ludwig Van Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Fourth Edition, May 1960 (Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books and Publishers, 1974).
8)    Tanquerey, Dogmatic Theology (1959) vol I, (New York; Tournai; Paris; Rome: Desclee Company, 1959), p. 146.
9) F. Dominico a Trinitate Carmelita Discalc,  Bibliotheca theologica: Septem Libris Distincta Prouincia, ROMAE; Typographia Philippi Matiz Mancini, 1668,  lib III, Sectio IV, caput X
10)    Abbot Guéranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Vol XII, pg. 188 1875
11)  Rev. James Kavanagh, D.D., A Reply to Mr. Gladstone’s Vaticanism, Dublin, James Guffy, 1895, p. 54
12)  Hervé, Hervé, Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae, (1952) Berche et Pagis, Editores, Parisiis, 1952) Vol. I.500 (b), I.514. 
13) Salaverri, Sacrae Theologiae Summa 1B (1955), On The Church of Christ, On Holy Scripture, 3rd ed., translated by Kenneth Bakker S.J., (Keep the Faith, Inc. 2015),  bk II, ch. III, a. II., N. 812.
14)  Rev. Louis Farris, Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca Canonica. Iuridica Moralis Theologica, Romae: S. C. De Propaganda Fide, (1764)
15) Billuart, Rene’, Summa S. Thomae Hodiernis Academiarum Moribus Accommodata (Everardum Kints, Leodii, Liege), Tract: De Regulus Fidei, 1754, p. 99
16)  Hurter, S.J. Theologiae Dogmaticae Compendium (1885)
17)  Fr. Sydney Smith, S.J., The Tablet (1895)
18)  American Ecclesiastical Review, Fr. O’Connor’ Q&A (December 1965)
19)   Sixtus Cartechini S.J. On the Value of Theological Notes and the Criteria for Discerning Them (Rome, 1951)  
20) John of St. Thomas CURSUS THEOLOGICUS, Tome 6.  Questions 1-7 on Faith.  Disputation 8. 1640 1 2 3 4 5 
21)  Dr. Boni, Professor of Canon Law at the University of Bologna, and Advisor of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. “Beyond a Resignation. The Decision of Pope Benedict XVI and The Law,” Bologna, 2015.
22)  Franciscus Xav. Wernz, Petrus Vidal, "Ius canonicum", II, "De personis", apud aedes Universitatis Gregorianae, Romae, 1943, pp. 520-521
23)  St. Alphonsus Ligouri, Doctor of the Church, Verita Della Fede', Part III, Ch. VIII, p. 720. 1767
24)  W. Wilmers, ‘A Handbook of the Christian Religion,’ 3rd ed., Benziger Bros., New York, New York. 1891, page 95
25) Pope Martin V, Council of Constance, 1418
26) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), Commentary on the 1989 Professio Fide, 1998 
27) Schmier, Benedict; Grimm, Georg; Merck, Aemilianus; Schmier, Benedict, Ecclesia Christi In Terris Militans: Seu Catholica Religio, Cum Fide, Spe Et Charitate Theolocica, Gratia Habituali, Iustificatione, Et Merito. Tractatus de Ecclesia Militante Questio XX, SALISBURGI: Typis Joannis Josephi Mayr, (1732)
28) Arbiol, Antonio O.F.M., Selectae disputationes scholasticae, et dogmaticaeCaesar-Augustae: Emm. Roman Univ, 1702, Disp II, Art XII.
29) A. Tanquerey – Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae fundamentalis: Ad mentem S. Thomae Aquinatis (1896)
30) Fr. Edmund O’Reilly, S.J., The Relations of the Church to Society (London, John Hodges, 1892, p. 308
31) Arnaldo De Salveria, L’Ordo Missae de Paul VI: Qu’en penser?, Paris, 1980, p. 72
32) Archbishop Lefebvre, The New Mass and the Pope, The Angelus, January 1980
33) Rev. Donald Sanborn (Sedevacantist Bishop), Explanation of The Thesis Of Bishop Guérard Des Lauriers, (2002)
34) Fr. Joseph Mariae de Turre , O.P., Institutionum ad verbi Dei scriptiintelligentiam Tractatus tertius, Typis Pauli Montii, (1711), Tract. III, Quaest V, App., q. 4., p. 176.
35) Fr. Francisco,  Palanco Tractatus De Fide Theologica. In 2. 2. Div. Thom. Ad illustrissimum d. d., Tract De Fide, Disp. III, Quaest. XI, Ad hac proposition Innocent XII, (1701) pp. 313-329.
36) Fr. Antonio De Alvalate, Cursus Theologicus...juxta mentem Doct. Joanni Dunsii Scoti, Tract II de Vera Relig., Disp III, Quaest III. (1757)  
37) Hunter, Outlinesof Dogmatic Theology, Volume I (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Benzinger Brothers, 1894) ch. VI, N. 211.
38) Thryso González de Santall, S.J. (general of the Jesuits) De infallibilitate Romani pontificis in definiendis fidei et morum controversiis (Rome: Felecis Caesaretti, 1689) Ch. XII, Disp I, Sect IX, XII.   pp. 124-127  Also see here
39) Cardinal Franzelin, Theses de ecclesia Christi (Romae : S.C. de Propaganda Fide, 1887), Thesis XIII, pp 232, 234.
40) Fr. Jourdain Hurtaud, 0. P., Professeur de Théologie Dogmatique, Savonarole. Aux Princes Chrétiens, Revue Thomiste, 1899, p. 660-661.
41) Palmieri, Domenico Tractatus de Romano Pontifice : cum prolegomeno de ecclesia (1891) – Inter Cunctus p. 226.
42. Fr. Vidal, Ius Decretalium, 1906, Papa Dubius, p. 356-7, n. 184.
43R.P.F. Francisci Henno Theologia dogm. moral et Scholast, : tomus II, (1795 (Refs Martin V)
44. Kilian Kazenberger, Assertiones centum ad mentem doctoris subtilis ac mariani Ioannis Duns Scotis, (1726), p. 77 - (Refs Martin V)
45. Vincens Groot, Summa apologetica de Ecclesia Catholica ad mentem S. Thomae Aquinatis, Vol I (Ratisbonae, Manz, 1890), Quaest IX, Art. IV.
46Francisco Suarez, S.J. De Fide (Paris: Vives 1865) disp X, De Summo Pontifice, Sect V, p. 313 (Martin V). Original publication date: 1583; also see here (p. 104-5); and here (p. 198); *Tractatuum Disputationum Et Lectionum, Paris, Primus, De Fide Theologica, Disp V, SECT. VIII . n. 12; 
47. Cardinal de Lugo, Joannis de Lugo, Virtue of Divine FaithDisp. I, Formal Object of Faith, Section XIII, V. (originally published in 1646).  Opera Omnia Theologica, Quibus Nunc Primum Accedunt Una Cum Auctoris Vita, Tom. I, (Pariis, Martin-Beaupre 1868). p. 173-5  (Refs Martin V)
48. Cano, Melchior, De Loci Theologicis, (1562) (Refs Martin V); 
49Kirsch, Leopold, S.J., Tractatus Theologicus De Virtutibus Theologalibus Fide, Spe, Charitate, (Vetero-Pragae, 1767), Pars I De Fide Divina, Quaes IV, Cap II,   Prob IV, p 108 (Martin V)
50. Sfondrati, Celestino ·REGALE SACERDOTIVM ROMANO PONTIFICI ASSERTVM ET QVATVOR (St. Gall,1684), Lib III, IV, p. 557 (Martin V) 
52. Francesco Viscome, Origine Ed Esercizio Della Potestà Dei Vescovi Dal Vaticano I Al VaticanoII (Gregorian Biblical Book Shop, 1997), pp 38-40. (Martin V)
53. Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, IV, ch. X (a schismatic antipope became the true Pope ipso facto due to UPA)
54. Fr. Jourdain Hurtaud, 0. P., Professor of Dogmatic Theology, Lettres De Savonarole Aux Princes Chrétiens Pour La Réunion D'un Concile, Revue Thomiste, 7, no. 44, 1900.

Fr. E. Sylvester Berry - The Church of Christ (1927)

"The extent of infallibility refers to the truths that may be defined by the Church with infallible authority. Some truths are directly subject to the infallible authority of the Church by their very nature; others only indirectly because of their connection with the former. The one set of truths constitutes the primary, the other secondary extent of infallibility. (…)

"This secondary or indirect extent of infallibility includes especially (a) theological conclusions, (b) truths of the natural order, (c) dogmatic facts (…)

"DOGMATIC FACTS. A dogmatic fact is one that has not been revealed, yet is so intimately connected with a doctrine of faith that without certain knowledge of the fact there can be no certain knowledge of the doctrine. For example, was the [First] Vatican Council truly ecumenical? Was Pius IX a legitimate pope? Was the election of Pius XI valid? Such questions must be decided with certainty before decrees issued by any council or pope can be accepted as infallibly true or binding on the Church. It is evident, then, that the Church must be infallible in judging of such facts, and since the Church is infallible in believing as well as in teaching, it follows that the practically unanimous consent of the bishops and faithful in accepting a council as ecumenical, or a Roman Pontiff as legitimately elected, gives absolute and infallible certainty of the fact." Berry, The Church of Christ, (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009, previously published by Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, 1955, pp. 288, 289, 290, originally published in 1927)   

Cardinal Journet, The Church of the Word Incarnate 1955

"[T]he peaceful acceptance of the universal Church given to an elect, as to a head to whom it submits, is an act in which the Church engages herself and her fate. It is therefore an act in itself infallible and is immediately recognizable as such. (Consequently, and mediately, it will appear that all conditions prerequisite to the validity of the election have been fulfilled.)
"Acceptance by the Church operates either negatively, when the election is not at once contested; or positively, when the election is first accepted by those present and then gradually by the rest. The Church has the right to elect the Pope, and therefore the right to certain knowledge as to who is elected." (Cardinal Journet, Church of the Word Incarnate (London and New York: Sheed and Ward, 1955, pp. 481-482.)
Sylvester Hunter, S.J., Outlines of Dogmatic Theology, (1894)

“Dogmatic Facts: - But besides these speculative truths, there are certain matters of fact concerning which the Church can judge with infallibly certainty. These are called by many writers dogmatic facts [.]

“First, then, the Church is infallible when she declares what person holds the office of Pope; for if the person of the Pope were uncertain, it would be uncertain what Bishops were in communion with the Pope; but according to the Catholic faith, as will be proved hereafter, communion with the Pope is a condition for the exercise of the function of teaching by the body of Bishops (n. 208); if then the uncertainty could not be cleared up, the power of teaching could not be exercised, and Christ's promise (St. Matt, xxviii. 20; and n. 199, II.) would be falsified, which is impossible.

 “This argument is in substance the same as applies to other cases of dogmatic facts.  Also, it affords an answer to a much vaunted objection to the claims of the Catholic Church, put forward by writers who think that they find proof in history that the election of a certain Pope was simoniacal and invalid, and that the successor was elected by Cardinals who owed their appointment to the simoniacal intruder; from which it is gathered that the Papacy has been vacant since that time.  A volume might be occupied if we attempt to expose all the frailness of the argument which is supposed to lead to this startling conclusion; but it is enough to say that if the Bishops agree in recognizing a certain man as Pope, they are certainly right, for otherwise the body of the Bishops would be separated from their head, and the Divine constitution of the Church would be ruined.” (Hunter, Outlines of DogmaticTheology, Volume I (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Benzinger Brothers, 1894) ch. VI, N. 211.

W. Wilmers, A Handbook of the Christian Religion (1891):

“The difficulty is sometimes raised that it is impossible at times to know whether a pope is lawfully elected or not, and, consequently, whether he has the power to rule the Church or not. The answer is simple. If the whole Church once acknowledges any one as its lawful head, though the election may have been for some cause invalid, he thereby receives the sanction of the Church, which is equivalent to a second and valid election; whereupon he succeeds to all that power vested in the head of the Church. Hence no secret flaw can practically invalidate a papal election, and every defect in the election is removed by the ratification of the Church, so that any pope, universally acknowledged by the Church, is necessarily the true successor of St. Peter (W. Wilmers, ‘A Handbook of the Christian Religion,’ 3rd ed., Benziger Bros., New York, New York. 1891, page 95.)

Van Noort – Christ’s Church 1957

"Assertion 2: The Church’s infallibility extends to dogmatic facts. This proposition is theologically certain. A dogmatic fact is a fact not contained in the sources of revelation, [but] on the admission of which depends the knowledge or certainty of a dogma or of a revealed truth. The following questions are concerned with dogmatic facts: ‘Was the [First] Vatican Council a legitimate ecumenical council? Is the Latin Vulgate a substantially faithful translation of the original books of the Bible? Was Pius XII legitimately elected Bishop of Rome? One can readily see that on these facts hang the questions of whether the decrees of the [First] Vatican Council are infallible, whether the Vulgate is truly Sacred Scripture, whether Pius XII is to be recognized as supreme ruler of the universal Church." (Van Noort, Christ’s Church, (Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1957, p. 153.)  

Van Noort – Sources of Revelation 1957

“Meantime, notice that the Church possesses infallibility not only when she is defining some matters in solemn fashion, but also when she is exercising the full weight of her authority through her ordinary and universal teaching. Consequently, we must hold with an absolute assent, which we call ‘ecclesiastical faith,’ the following theological truths: (a) those which the Magisterium has infallibly defined in solemn fashion; (b) those which the ordinary magisterium dispersed throughout the world unmistakably proposes to its members as something to be held (tenendas). So, for example, one must give an absolute assent to the proposition: ‘Pius XII is the legitimate successor of St. Peter’; similarly … one must give an absolute assent to the proposition: ‘Pius XII possesses the primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church.’ For    skipping the question of how it begins to be proven infallibly for the first time that this individual was legitimately elected to take St. Peter’s place    when someone has been constantly acting as Pope and has theoretically and practically been recognized as such by the bishops and by the universal Church, it is clear that the ordinary and universal magisterium is giving an utterly clear-cut witness to the legitimacy of his succession.” (Van Noort, Sources of Revelation (Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1957, p. 265.)

Cardinal Billot - De Ecclesia Christ (1909)

"Finally, whatever you still think about the possibility or impossibility of the aforementioned hypothesis [of a Pope falling into heresy], at least one point must be considered absolutely incontrovertible and placed firmly above any doubt whatever: the adhesion of the universal Church will be always, in itself, an infallible sign of the legitimacy of a determined Pontiff, and therefore also of the existence of all the conditions required for legitimacy itself. It is not necessary to look far for the proof of this, but we find it immediately in the promise and the infallible providence of Christ: ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ and ‘Behold I shall be with you all days.’ For the adhesion of the Church to a false Pontiff would be the same as its adhesion to a false rule of faith,[2] seeing that the Pope is the living rule of faith which the Church must follow and which in fact she always follows. As will become even more clear by what we shall say later, God can permit that at times a vacancy in the Apostolic See be prolonged for a long time. He can also permit that doubt arise about the legitimacy of this or that election. He cannot however permit that the whole Church accept as Pontiff him who is not so truly and legitimately.

"Therefore, from the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the aforementioned adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.” (De Ecclesia Christi, Quaestio XIV - De Romano Pontifice, Thesis XXIX, §3 1909.)

Hervé, Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae (1952)

"What good would it be to profess the infallible authority of Ecumenical Councils  or Roman  Pontiffs in the abstract  if it were permitted to entertain  doubts  about  the  legitimacy of any given Council  or Pontiff?" (Hervé, Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae, (Berche et Pagis, Editores, Parisiis, 1952.

A. Tanquerey – Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae fundamentalis: Ad mentem S. Thomae Aquinatis – (1896)

All admit that the Church enjoys infallibility with regard to the legitimacy of a Holy Pontiff, and therefore that it cannot err when it unanimously recognizes that Pope as legitimate. Otherwise, the Church’s body would be separated from its head.  That would be contrary to its indefectibility and unity.” (Tanquerey, Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae fundamentalis: Ad mentem S. Thomae Aquinatis, 1897, Caput II, No. 197, p. 482.; 1896, No. 195, p. 523) 

Abbot Guéranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year - 1875

“The inevitable play of human passions, interfering in the election of the Vicar of Christ, may perchance for a while [i.e., “for a certain time”] render uncertain the transmission of spiritual power. But when it is proved that the Church, still holding, or once more put in possession of her liberty, acknowledges in the person a certain Pope, until then doubtful, as the true Sovereign Pontiff, this her very recognition is a proof that, from that moment at least, the occupant of the Apostolic See is as such invested by God himself.” (Abbot Guéranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Vol XII, 1875, pg. 188.)

St. Alphonsus Ligouri - 'Verita Della Fede' 1767

'It is of no importance that in the past centuries some Pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the Pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was accepted afterward by the whole Church as Pope, since by such acceptance he would have become the true Pontiff. But if for a certain time, he was not [i.e., had never been] accepted universally and truly by the Church, during that time the pontifical see would be vacant, as it is vacant at the death of a Pope.” (Verita Della Fede', Part III, Ch. VIII, p. 720.)

Tanquerey - Tanquerey, Dogmatic Theology (1959)

“The Church is infallible in regard to dogmatic facts.  A dogmatic fact is one which is so much connected with a doctrine of the Church that knowledge of it is necessary in order to understand the doctrine and to preserve it safely.

“Dogmatic facts can be threefold: historical, doctrinal and hagiographical.  Thus, dogmatic facts are the legitimacy of the Holy Pontiff, the ecumenical (universal) nature of a Council.

That the Church is infallible in regard to dogmatic facts in certain.  For if the Church could make  mistake concerning the authority of the Holy Pontiff or of a Council, then there would always be grounds for doubting whether their decisions were infallible and accordingly for rejecting these decisions.” Tanquerey, Dogmatic Theology, vol I, (New York; Tournai; Paris; Rome: Desclee Company, 1959), p. 146.

Salaverri, Sacrae Theologiae Summa 1B (1955)

“Dogmatic facts can be ether formally revealed, like the divine institution of the Church, the resurrection of Christ, etc., or necessarily connected with revealed truths, that is, truths which if they are not held, revelation itself cannot be protected or proposed.  We are speaking only about these or about facts connected with revelation.  But these are of two kinds: a) some are simply such, like the legitimacy of the Council of Trent [or of a Roman Pontiff], without which certitude about the dogmas defined by it would be called into doubt; b) but others are doctrinal like the orthodox or heterodox meaning of a human text.” (p. 261).

“In the decree of Vatican I, which had been prepared, the doctrine of the thesis was directly and explicitly defined; hence the thesis is proximate to a definition:

Vatican I draft, Canon IX: “If any one says that the infallibility of the Church I restricted only to those things which are contained in divine revelation, and does not also extend to other truths which are required necessarily in order to safeguard the whole deposit of revelation [i.e., dogmatic facts], let him be anathema.” (Mansi 51,543,552).

Canon IX. Si quis dixerit, Ecclesiae infallibilitatem ad ea tantum restringi, quae divina revelatione continentur, nec ad alias etiam veritates extendi, quae necessario requiruntur, ut revelationis depositum integrum custodiatur; anathema sit.

Vatican I, c. 9 approved, draft: “If anyone say that the Church of Christ can fail in the true faith, or certainly is not immune from error in no other matters except in those which per se are contained in the word of God, let him be anathema.” (Mansi 53,313,316.   (Salaverri, Sacrae Theologiae Summa 1B, On The Church of Christ, On Holy Scripture, 3rd ed., translated by Kenneth Bakker S.J., Keep the Faith, Inc. 2015.

Fr. Wernz (Doubtful Pope - see footnote)

“The ancient authors everywhere admitted the axiom, ‘A doubtful pope is no pope’ and applied it to solve the difficulties which arose from the Great Western Schism.  Now this axiom could be understood in several ways. For instance, a ‘doubtful pope’ can be understood not negatively, but positively - i.e., when, after a diligent examination of the facts, competent men in the Catholic Church would pronounce: 'The validity of the canonical election of this Roman pontiff is uncertain’.  Moreover, the words 'No pope' are not necessarily understood of a pope who has previously been received as certain and undoubted by the whole Church, but concerning whose election so many difficulties are subsequently brought to light that he becomes 'a doubtful pope' so that he would thereby forfeit the pontifical power already obtained.  This understanding of the axiom concerning 'a doubtful pope' should be reproved because the whole Church cannot entirely fall away from a Roman pontiff who has been legitimately elected, on account of the unity promised to His Church by Christ. 

“But the other part of this axiom could have the meaning that a Roman pontiff whose canonical election is uncertain and remains subject to positive and solid doubts after studious examination, absolutely never did acquire[1] also the papal jurisdiction from Christ the Lord. For this reason the bishops gathered together in a general council, in the event that they subject to examination a doubtful case of this kind, do not pronounce judgement on a true pope, since the person in question lacks the papal jurisdiction. Now if the axiom be understood in this last sense, the doctrine which it contains is entirely sound. 

“Indeed this is what is deduced in the first place from the very nature of jurisdiction. For jurisdiction is essentially a relation between a superior who has the right to obedience and a subject who has the duty of obeying. Now when one of the parties to this relationship is wanting, the other necessarily ceases to exist also, as is plain from the nature of the relationship. However, if a pope is truly and permanently doubtful, the duty of obedience cannot exist towards him on the part of any subject. For the law, 'Obedience is owed to the legitimately-elected successor of St. Peter,' does not oblige if it is doubtful; and it most certainly is doubtful if the law has been doubtfully promulgated, for laws are instituted when they are promulgated, and without sufficient promulgation they lack a constitutive part, or essential condition. But if the fact of the legitimate election of a particular successor of St. Peter is only doubtfully demonstrated, the promulgation is doubtful; hence that law is not duly and objectively constituted of its necessary parts, and it remains truly doubtful and therefore cannot impose any obligation. Indeed it would be rash to obey such a man who had not proved his title in law. Nor could appeal be made to the principle of possession, for the case in question is that of a Roman pontiff who is not yet in peaceful possession. Consequently in such a person there would be no right of command - i.e. he would lack papal jurisdiction. 

"The same conclusion is confirmed on the basis of the visibility of the Church. For the visibility of the Church consists in the fact that she possesses such signs and identifying marks that, when moral diligence is used, she can be recognized and discerned, especially on the part of her legitimate officers. But in the supposition we are considering, the pope cannot be found even after diligent examination. The conclusion is therefore correct that such a doubtful pope is not the proper head of the visible Church instituted by Christ. Nor is such a doubtful pope any less compatible with the unity of the Church, which would be in the highest degree prejudiced in the case of the body being perfectly separated from its head. For a doubtful pope has no right of commanding and therefore there is no obligation of obedience on the part of the faithful. Hence in such a case the head would be perfectly separated from the rest of the body of the Church. Cf. Suarez, De Fide, Disp.10, sect.6, n.4, 19." (Fr. Franz Xaver Wernz, Ius Decretalium ad Usum Praelectionum In Scholis Textus Canonicisive Juris Decretalium, , Tomus II, (Romae: De Propoganda Fide, 1898) Scholion 618). Ius Decretalium 


[1] Card. Franzelin 1. c. p. 232. n. 4. i. f.; Camarda 1. c. p. 253. sq. 256. sq., ubi agit de legitimis exceptionibus contra electum Rom. Pontificem recteque notat contra Papam electum et a tota Ecclesia receptum non admitti exceptionem. Qui consensus Eccl. non est electio nec vi sua non electum facit electum, quia canonice electus a Cardinalibus antece denter ad acceptationem Ecclesiae est legitimus Papa. Cfr. Franzelin l. c. p. 234. Ergo acceptatio illa Ecclesiae non est causa, sed signum et effectus infallibilis validae electionis. Vicissim si tota Eccl Papam electum dere linquat v. g. Petrum de Luna sive Bened. XIII., id certum est signum illum nunquam fuisse legitimum Papam. Cfr. Card. Hergenroether-Kirsch l. c. t. II. p. 867. sq.; Bouiae l. c. p. 684. sq.; Billot l. c. p. 144. sq.   [Therefore, the universal acceptance by the Church is not the cause, but a sign and infallible effect of a valid election. On the other hand, if the entire Church abandons a Pope, as in the base of Peter De Luna (Benedict XIII) it is a certain sign that he never was a legitimate Pope.] 

Hurter, S.J. Theologiae Dogmaticae Compendium (1885)

“[Dogmatic  facts] include  things of this sort:  that  the  Sacred  Scriptures  we use are  genuine;  that  the Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, Trent, etc. were legitimate;  that  Pius IX, Leo  XIII,  etc.  were  elected  legitimately  and  consequently were  legitimate successors to Peter as Bishops of Rome.  Just see what would result if you would let any of these things be called into doubtDefinitions issued during Councils would not have certainty. There  would be no  sure  way  of  determining  the center  of Catholic  unityIn  short, what would result is the uprooting of faith itself and the destruction of Rev- elation.

[Facta  dogmatica]   “ejus modi sunt, e.g., Scripturam s., qua utimur, esse   genuinam; concilia nicaenum, ephesinum, tridentinum  etc., fuisse legitima; Pius IX,  Leonem XIII  etc. Iegitime fuisse electos ac  proinde legitimos Petri in  episcopatu  romano successores.  Sane fac quidpiam horum in dubium vocetur,  illico consequetur, editas definitiones in conciliis incertas, incertum  esse    centrum  unitatis catholicae, scil. consequetur ipsius fidei excidium revelationisque  pernicies. Hurter, S.J. Theologiae Dogmaticae Compendium (1885) I.338 (Thesis LV).

John of St. Thomas – Theological Courses, 1640

“The Church accepts the election and the elect as a matter of faith, because as she receives him as the infallible rule of faith, and as the supreme head to whom she is united—for the unity of the Church depends upon her union with him.

"TO THE OBJECTION that there must be someone to propose this truth to the Church as de fide, I respond that the election and the one elected are proposed by the cardinals, not in their own person, but in the person of the Church and by her power—for she it is who committed to them the power of electing the pope and of declaring him to have been elected.  Wherefore they, in this respect and for this task, are the Church herself representatively. Thus the cardinals, or whoever else the Church (that is, the Pope) has legitimately designated to do the electing, represent the Church in all that concerns the election of her head, the successor of Peter.

“Just as the pope gathers the bishops together in a Council, and yet its confirmation and the ultimate sentence in matters of faith depend upon him, so the congregation of cardinals elects the pope, and declares that he has been elected, and yet it is the Church, whose ministers they are, that by its acceptance ultimately confirms as a truth of faith the fact that this man is truly the highest rule of faith and the supreme pontiff.  Wherefore, if the cardinals elect him in a questionable manner, the Church can correct their election, as the Council of Constance determined in its 41st session.  Hence, the proposition [i.e., that he is the legitimate Pope] is rendered de fide, as already has been explained, by the acceptance of the Church, and that alone, even before the pope himself defines anything.”  (…)

"All that remains to be determined, then, is the exact moment when the acceptance of the Church becomes sufficient to render the proposition [i.e., that this man is Pope] de fide. Is it as soon as the cardinals propose the elect to the faithful who are in the immediate locality, or only when knowledge of the election has sufficiently spread through the whole world, wherever the Church is to be found?

"I REPLY that (as we have said above) the unanimous election of the cardinals and their declaration is similar to a definition given by the bishops at a Council legitimately gathered. Moreover, the acceptance of the Church is, for us, like a confirmation of this declaration. Now, the acceptance of the Church is realized both negatively, by the fact that the Church does not contradict the news of the election wherever it becomes known, and positively, by the gradual acceptance of the prelates of the Church, beginning with the place of the election, and spreading throughout the rest of the world.  As soon as men see or hear that a Pope has been elected, and that the election is not contested, they are obliged to believe that that man is the Pope, and to accept him."

Sedevacantist Bishop, Donald Sanborn (2002)

“Q. Can a papal election be convalidated by the general acceptance of the Catholic people?

“A. Yes. This is generally conceded by Catholic theologians. The ultimate guarantee of a valid election is the universal acceptance of Catholics that a certain man has been elected. (Rev. Donald Sanborn, Explanation Of The Thesis Of Bishop Guérard Des Lauriers, Jan, 2002)

Arnaldo De Salveira - 1980

Silveira: In respect to a doubtful Pope, it is necessary to make it very clear here that the peaceful acceptance of a Pope by the whole Church is ‘a sign and an infallible effect of a valid election’. This is the common teaching of the authors.” (L’Ordo Missae de Paul VI: Qu’en penser?, Paris, 1980, p. 72).

Fr. Francis Connell – American Ecclesiastical Review - 1965

In the December 1965 issue of The American Ecclesiastical Review, Fr. Francis Connell provides a beautiful explanation of the doctrine and uses it to prove that Paul VI was validly baptized (condition) and validly elected pope.

"Question: What certainty have we that the reigning Pontiff is actually the primate of the universal Church — that is, that he became a member of the Church through valid baptism, and that he was validly elected Pope?

"Answer: Of course, we have human moral certainty that the reigning Pontiff was validly elected in conclave and accepted the office of Bishop of Rome, thus becoming head of the universal Church. The unanimous consensus of a large group of Cardinals composing the electoral body gave us this assurance. And we also have human moral certainty that the reigning Pontiff was validly baptized, since there is a record to that effect in the baptismal register of the church in which the sacrament was administered. We have the same type of certainty that any bishop is the true spiritual head of the particular See over which he presides. This type of certainty excludes every prudent fear of the opposite.

"But in the case of the Pope we have a higher grade of certainty — a certainty that excludes not merely the prudent fear of the opposite, but even the possible fear of the opposite. In other words, we have infallible certainty that the present Sovereign Pontiff [Paul VI] has been incorporated into the Church by a valid baptism [condition] and has been validly elected head of the universal Church. For if we did not have infallible assurance that the ruling Pontiff is truly in the eyes of God the chief teacher of the Church of Christ, how could we accept as infallibly true his solemn pronouncements? This is an example of a fact that is not contained in the deposit of revelation but is so intimately connected with revelation that it must be within the scope of the Church’s magisterial authority to declare it infallibly. The whole Church, teaching and believing, declares and believes this fact, and from this it follows that this fact is infallibly true. We accept it with ecclesiastical – not divine – faith, based on the authority of the infallible Church." (American Ecclesiastical Review, vol. 153, Dec. 1965, p. 422.)

Rev. Kavanagh D.D. ., A Reply to Mr. Gladstone’s Vaticanism, 1895

“Mr. Gladstone need not be alarmed about the papal succession.  Independently of all previous proceedings, the acceptance of Martin V by the Universal Church as lawful Pope proves that his election was canonical and legitimate; for the recognition of the true Pope is a dogmatic fact in which the Universal Church cannot err.” (Rev. James Kavanagh, D.D., A Reply to Mr. Gladstone’s Vaticanism, Dublin, James Guffy, 1895, p. 54)

Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice

“It happened a little afterward, that Sylverius died and Vigilius, who to that point sat in schism, now began to be the sole and legitimate Pontiff for certain through the confirmation and reception by the clergy and the Roman people.” (Bellarmine, De Romano Pontifice, IV, chapter 10)

Fr. Edmund O’Reilly – The Relations of the Church to Society (1892)

The following is Fr. O’Reilly’s reply to the same article by Mr. Gladstone:
“As to Pope Martin's right to his position, his universal acceptance by the Catholic Church settled that; and the universality of this acceptance was not appreciably affected by the obstinate persistence of Peter de Luna with a handful of adherents.” (Fr. Edmund O’Reilly, S.J., The Relations of the Church to Society (London, John Hodges, 1892) p. 308

Definition of Martin V – Council of Constance

The following question was defined by the Council to be proposed to those suspected of heresy:

“Also, whether he believes that the Pope canonically elected, who is reigning at the time (his proper name being given), is the successor of Blessed Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God? (Inter Cunctus, Council of Constance)

Definition of Martin V Explained by John of St. Thomas  1640

The following is John of St. Thomas’ explanation of why this definition renders the peaceful and universal acceptance of a Pope de fide:

“Martin V, in the Council of Constance, in the condemnation of the errors of Wyclif, which is to be found after the fourth, fifth, and last sessions of the Council, in the interrogations that are to be made of those whose faith is suspect, to see whether they rightly believe, puts this question.  Also, whether he believes that the Pope canonically elected, who is reigning at the time (his proper name being given), is the successor of Blessed Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God?  These words do not speak of the truth of that proposition understood in a general sense—namely, that whoever is lawfully elected is the Supreme Pontiff—but in the particular, concerning whoever is pope at the time, giving his proper name, for instance, Innocent X.  It is of this man, whose proper name is given, that the pope is bidding the person suspect in faith to be asked, whether he believes that such a person is the successor of Peter and the Supreme Pontiff: therefore this pertains to the act of faith—not to an inference or a moral certitude; for neither of the latter two is a matter of faith.” (…)

“[W]hoever is elected by the persons that the Church designates to choose a pope in her name, by the very fact that he is accepted by the Church as legitimately elected, is in fact pope.  This latter is what the definition of Martin V, related above,  as well as the acceptance of the Church, is really about.”

“Therefore, we have the certainty of faith, by a revelation implicitly contained in the Creed and in the promise made to Peter, and made more explicit in the definition of Martin V, and applied and declared in act (in exercitio) by the acceptance of the Church, that this man in particular, canonically elected according to the acceptance of the Church, is pope.  The certainty of faith touches this alone; and whatever is prerequisite to, or else follows upon, the fact of the election, is inferred as a theological conclusion drawn from the proposition that is de fide, and is believed mediately.”

Bull of Pope Martin explained by Ferraris, in Prompta Bibliotheca Canonica. – 1764

“It is of faith that Benedict XIV [currently reigning Pope], for instance, legitimately elected and accepted as such by the Church, is the true Pope. This is proved from the Council of Constance, sess. ult. where Martin V. Const. Inter Cunctus, decrees that those who return from heresy to the faith shall be asked, among other points, ‘Whether they believe that the Pope canonically elected, for the time being, his name being expressly mentioned, is the successor of St. Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God.’ For thereby he supposes it to be an article of faith, since those who abjure heresy are ‘interrogated only as to truths of faith.’ (…)

“Through the mere fact that the Church receives him as legitimately elected, God reveals to us the legitimacy of his election (quoque est certa, quia eo ipso quod Ecclesia ipsum recepit ut légitime electum, revelat Deus ipsius electionem esse legitimam), since Christ has promised that His Church shall never err in a matter of faith … whereas she would err in such matter of faith if the conclusion did not hold; since the Church by recognizing the elect the legitimate Pope, she acknowledges him as the infallible rule of faith (whereas if he were not the true Pope), he would be fallible. The definitions of Benedict XIV when he speaks ex cathedra are de fide; but the assent would not be de fide, if it were not de fide that Benedict is the true Pope.  It is not valid [to say]: it’s not de fide that Benedict XIV is validly baptized and canonically elected, since it is not revealed; therefore, it is not de fide is that it is the true Pope. It is not valid, I say, because although it is not explicitly revealed, it is revealed implicitly through the peaceful and universal acceptance of the Church; since by this fact God has revealed that he is the legitimate Pope, he thereby implicitly revealed that all the necessary conditions for him to become Pope were met.” Ferraris, Louis, Prompta Bibliotheca Canonica Iuridica Moralis Theologica. (Romae: S. C. De Propaganda Fide, 1764) article Papa, Nos. 67 – 71, p. 53.

Bull of Pope Martin explained by Antonio Arbiol, Selectae Disputationes Scholasticae, Et Dogmaticae - 1702.

“The Bull of Martin V, in the Council of Constance, determine that heretics returning to the Church are to be asked if they believe the Pope, canonically elected, reigning for a time, his name being given, is the true successor of Bl. Peter; and if not they are to be punished as a heretic and follower of the Heresiarch John Huss; but that would not be the case, if it were not de fide; therefore, etc.” 

The following his reply to the objection that the legitimacy of a pope cannot be de fide, since it is not de fide that he was canonically elected, or baptized, etc.

“… after he was peacefully and universally accepted, as we saw above, not only is the election anonical and de fide; but also that he was baptized, as well as many other things that were not previously de fide; for since Divine Providence will not permit the Church cannot err [by universally accepting a false pope], all these are implicitly revealed in the promise of Christ: ‘Behold I am with you all days, even to the end of the world.” (…)  Therefore, after the peaceful and universal acceptance, the proposition [that he is the true Pope] is not merely probable; it is de fide.  No Catholic authors relate differently. Indeed, all teach that by the peaceful and universal acceptance of the Church all the related conditions also become de fide, which beforehand were not de fide.” (Arbiol, Antonio O.F.M., Selectae disputationes scholasticae, et dogmaticae, Caesar-Augustae: Emm. Roman Univ, 1702, Disp II, Art XII.

Explanation of the Definition of Martin V by Fr. Smith, S.J. 1895

Fr. Sydney Smith, S.J., quotes the renowned Italian canonist, Lucius Ferraris (Bibliotheca – 1764), who explains why this definition renders the legitimacy of a Pope, who has been peacefully and universally accepted, de fide: 

“[The doctrine stating that a Pope who has been peacefully and universally accepted is infallibly the true Pope] is no mere theory, but the common doctrine of Catholic theologians, as will appear sufficiently from the following passage in Ferraris’ Bibliotheca [1764], a work of the highest authority. In his article on the Pope, Ferraris says, ‘It is of faith (de fide) that Benedict XIV, for instance, legitimately elected and accepted as such by the Church, is the true Pope — (common doctrine among Catholics). This is proved from the Council of Constance (sess. Ult.) where Martin V’s Constitution, Inter Cunctos, decrees that those who return from heresy to the faith shall be asked, among other points, ‘Whether they believe that the Pope canonically elected, for the time being, his name being expressly mentioned, is the successor of St. Peter, having supreme authority in the Church of God.’ For thereby he [Fr. Ferraris] supposes it to be an article of faith, since those who abjure heresy are ‘interrogated only as to truths of faith’.”

Fr. Smith continues by quoting Farris’ explanation of what is required for one to be considered “canonically elected”:

“It will be said, ‘Yes, but he speaks only of a Pontiff canonically elected and as such accepted by the Church, so his authority cannot therefore be quoted for the case of one whose canonical election is called in question.’ This, however, is an objection which Ferraris himself anticipates, and he meets it thus:

‘Through the mere fact that the Church receives him as legitimately elected, God reveals to us the legitimacy of his election, since Christ has promised that His Church shall never err in a matter of faith. … Through the mere fact that the Church receives him as legitimately elected, God reveals to us the legitimacy of his election, since Christ has promised that His Church shall never err in a matter of faith … whereas she would err in such matter of faith if the conclusion did not hold[.]’” (Fr. Sydney Smith, S.J., “ Dr. Littledale’s Theory of the Disappearance of the Papacy,” Catholic Truth Society, Vol. XXVI, London, 1895.

Professor Boni - Beyond a Resignation. The Decision of Pope Benedict XVI and The Law - 2015

Finally, Antonio Socci argues: ‘Even if the validity of the procedures followed that March 13, 2013 was expressed only a doubtful judgment, it can be assumed that the conclave must be redone because the doctrine teaches that" dubius pope habetur pro non papa "(a doubtful pope he considers himself as not a Pope), as the great doctor of the Church and Jesuit cardinal San Roberto Bellarmino writes in the treatise "De conciliis et ecclesia militante’ (pp. 7, 122).

“On the contrary, even if what has been reported had happened, the procedure followed, as demonstrated, would have been entirely "ad normam iuris" (as provided by law): the election of Pope Francis, having reached the expected majority in the fifth ballot (the first, I remember, occurred on May 12), it would be valid, there would be nothing to heal, there would be no doubt, much less "positive" and "insoluble" (as the law postulates), on its validity.

“Given the total legal groundlessness of these suppositions, even to want to give credit to the information on which it claims to take root, the bogeyman - rashly agitated - of the current assidarsi on Peter’s chair of a doubtful Pope also vanishes. However, the canonist have constantly and generally chorus that the peaceful "universalis ecclesiae adhaesio" is a sign and infallible effect of a valid election and a legitimate papacy ([1]): and the adhesion to Pope Francis of the people of God cannot be put in any way in doubt.” (Dr. Boni, Professor of Canon Law at the University of Bologna, and Advisor of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. “Beyond a Resignation. The Decision of Pope Benedict XVI and The Law,” Bologna, 2015.)

Sedevacantist Bishop, Donald Sanborn (2004)

III. Five Errors of Opinionism

“ERROR 1: Opinionism places the identity of the Roman Pontiff, i.e., whether Ratzinger is the Vicar of Christ or not, in the category of “theological opinion.” The very term opinion indicates that it is not certain whether he is or he is not the pope. It is impossible to hold, however, that there is a lack of certitude on this subject.

“Those who hold that he is the pope point to absolutely certain signs: (1) a legal election which was universally accepted; (2) Ratzinger’s own acceptance of the election; (3) Ratzinger’s functioning as pope; (4) the universal acceptance of Ratzinger as a legitimate pope.  None of these things is uncertain. If one is using these arguments as evidence of his papacy, where is there any room for doubt? (Rev. Donald Sanborn, Opinionism, 2004)

Sedevacantist Apologist, John Lane

“The adherence of the whole Church to any given claimant is in itself a proof that all of the necessary requisites for validity are present. The reason for this is the indefectibility of the Church, which cannot adhere to a false visible head. … it is certainly a powerful argument for sedeplenism, which is perhaps why most sedevacantists never mention it." (John Lane, Sedevacantist Apologist).

Archbishop Lefebvre – The New Mass and the Pope (1980)

“Does not the exclusion of the cardinals of over eighty years of age, and the secret meetings which preceded and prepared the last two Conclaves render them invalid? Invalid: no, that is saying too much. Doubtful at the time: perhaps. But in any case, the subsequent unanimous acceptance of the election by the Cardinals and the Roman clergy suffices to validate it. That is the teaching of the theologians.

“The visibility of the Church is too necessary to its existence for it to be possible that God would allow that visibility to disappear for decades. The reasoning of those who deny that we have a Pope puts the Church in an extricable situation. Who will tell us who the future Pope is to be? How, as there are no cardinals, is he to be chosen? This spirit is a schismatical one for at least the majority of those who attach themselves to certainly schismatical sects like Palmar de Troya, the Eglise Latine de Toulouse, and others. (…)

"Consequently, the Society of St. Pius X, its priests, brothers, sisters and oblates, cannot tolerate among its members those who refuse-to pray for the Pope or affirm that the Novus Ordo Missae is per se invalid. Certainly, we suffer from this continual incoherence which consists in praising all the Liberal orientations of Vatican II and at the same time straining to mitigate its effects. But all of this must incite us to prayer and to the firm maintenance of Tradition rather than to the affirmation that the Pope is not the Pope.” (Archbishop Lefebvre, The New Mass and the Pope, The Angelus, January 1980)


Fr. Jourdain Hurtaud, 0. P., Professor of Dogmatic Theology

Revue Thomiste Lettres De Savonarole 
Aux Princes Chrétiens
Pour La Réunion D'un Concile

If it remains doubtful in the external forum that the election is valid, does the Pope that issued forth from this election not himself become doubtful? And is it not the case that a council can be convened to draw the Church out of this uncertainty? 

Canonically, a Pope emerging from a doubtful election is doubtful when the doubt bears on the very substance of the election, as regards its essential conditions, such as they are defined by natural law or positive law. For example, if there had been serious reasons to believe that the election had been violent, or that the person elected did not receive two-thirds of the votes. On the observance of these conditions certainly depends the validity and therefore the reality of the election. If the opposing cardinals seriously dispute the freedom of electoral operations, or the number of votes obtained, etc., then the principle Jactum non supponitur sedprobatur applies, and the fact of free and regular election must be established. And [in such a case] we find for recourse to a council a principle of prosecution indisputably certain in law. 

But here [in the present case under consideration - i.e., Alexander VI] the doubt concerns the circumstance of simony, not as to the fact, but as to whether simony itself can vitiate the election and taint it with nullity. The doubt is a legal doubt [i.e., doubt of law, not doubt of fact], and in this case, apart from a positive decree deciding the question, one must regulate one's conduct by this principle: lex dubia, lex nulla (a doubtful law is no law). The one chosen is in possession of his election by the fulfillment of the certain conditions necessarily required, and the infraction of a dubious law cannot deprive him of it. A doubtful law, which therefore has no effect, cannot serve as the basis for requiring the declaration of nullity, and, consequently, for justifying an act as serious as that of calling into question the reality of the pontifical power in the holder of the Primacy, at the risk of causing trouble in the Church. 

Therefore we understand that, in practice, a Pope who emerges from a notoriously simoniacal election is, or should be held to be, the true Pope at least legally.    

Was he really? Nothing less certain. 

It is manifest, indeed, that if such an election is null of itself, as one can believe theologically, the absence of a positive decree explaining the divine law and allowing its invalidity to be pursued canonically would not suffice to validate it [an investigation].  But it remains true that if the one chosen did not emerge as Pope by the operations of the Conclave, he could nevertheless become [a legitimate] Pope. How? —By the acceptance of the Church. 

It should be noted, in fact, that the initial right of election originally belonged to Christian society. The Sovereign Pontiffs were able to limit the use of this right, by restricting its exercise to the college of cardinals, but they [the Pontiffs] did not intend to extinguish the right altogether, precisely for such a case in which it becomes the only resource to ward off this distress of the society. The Church, in this case, does not supply jurisdiction, as some theologians wrongly say; it supplies for the election by the oath of obedience taken by the different parts of Christendom (1). 

Alexander VI had received these oaths of obedience... We therefore do not think that the mere fact of simony, even if it was as well established and shameful as that to which Rodrigue Borgia owed his elevation, could justify the initiative of Savonarola to convening a council. The legal doubt was insufficient at the time of the election, and it lost its legal value as soon as the one chosen had been recognized by the Church. (Fr. Jourdain Hurtaud, 0. P., Professor of Dogmatic Theology, Lettres De Savonarole Aux Princes Chrétiens Pour La Réunion D'un Concile, Revue Thomiste, 7, no. 44, 1900).


Joannis de Lugo  
Opera Omnia Theologica, quibus nunc primum accedunt una cum auctoris vita et triplici indice, DE OBJECTO FORMALI FIDEI, Vol. I. (Martin-Beaupré Fratres, 1868), p. 173-4

326. Contrariam sententiam docent nostri Doctores recentiores communiter . Suarez disp. 5 , de Fide, sect . 8 , n. 12 , et latius dicta disp. 10, sect . 5 Talmeron , Valentia et Albertinus, ex nostra Societate , in suis Corollariis quos affert idem Suarez dicta sect. E , num. 12 , et latius Hurtado disp . 37 per totam : quam ego etiam sententiam veram existimo, et supponi videtur in decreto Martini Quinti , quod factum fuit in Concilio Constantiensi, ubi ab hæreticis, qui reconciliationem peterunt, exigitur, ut inter alia quorum fidem profiteri debent dicant se credere Papam canonice electum , nempe N. qui pro tempore fuerit, ejus nomine expresso, esse successorem Petri et habere supremam potestatem in Ecclesia.

327. Ratione etiam , aliis argumentis omissis, quæ afferri solent, probari breviter potest ex supradictis, quia hoc etiam objectum singulare contineri videtur in universalibus propositionibus a Deo revelatis : nam ex Dei reve latione constat, Ecclesiam non posse decipi in credendo universaliter aliquo errore , cum sit Columna et firmamentum veritatis, & ad Timoth . 2, in qua Ecclesia universalis infallibilitate non minus contineri videtur quod non possit Ecclesia errare in agnoscenda vera regula visibili suæ fidei, quam in rebus aliis credendis per fidem : plus enim Ecclesiæ noceret error circa ipsam regulam veritatis et fidei, quam circa alia objecta particularia, cum esset error in ipso fidei fundamento, cum ergo regula visibilis , quam Ecclesia in sua fide sequitur et sequi omnino debet, sit ejus visibile caput, nempe summus Pontifex , cujus doctrinam et definitiones amplecti debet, non potest Ecclesia decipi acceptando pro Pontifice et regula fidei eum qui vere non esset Pontifex nec fidei regula, sed Pseudopapa, et homo privatus.

328. Confirmatur primo, quia debemus fide credere omnia definita in Concilio Tridentino, v. g. et in aliis Conciliis generalibus legitimis : ergo debemus fide credere illud esse legitimum Concilium ; sicut quia debemus fide credere omnia contenta in Evangelio Marci , debemus etiam fide credere illud esse verum et canonicum Evangelium ; si enim posseinus prudenter dubitare vel formidare de legitimitate Concilii , possemus etiam dubitare vel formidare de ejus definitionibus. Cum ergo valor Concilii dependeat ex consensu et approbatione veri summi Pontificis, sine qua non habet auctoritatem infallibilem , consequens est ut eadem fide credi debeat verus Pontifex, a quo Concilium legitimam habet auctoritatem et valorem .

326. Modern doctors generally teach the opposite opinion [that it is de fide]. Suarez disp. 5, on Faith, sect. 8, no. 12, and more widely spoken disp. 10, sect. 5, Talmeron, Valentia, and Albertinus, from our Society, in their Corollaries which Suarez brings forth in the same sect. E, whether 12, and Hurtado disp. 37 on the whole: I also consider this to be the true opinion, and it seems to be implied in the decree of Martin V, at the Council of Constantia, where it is required of the heretics who asked for reconciliation, that, among other things that they must confess by faith, whether they believe that the Pope, canonically elected, whose name is given, and has reigned for a time, whether they believe he is the Successor of St. Peter and has supreme power in the Church.

327. By reason also, for omitting the other arguments which are usually given, it can be proved from the foregoing, because this object also seems to be contained singularly in the universal propositions revealed by God: for it is clear from God's revelation that the Church cannot be deceived in believing universally in any error, since she is the pillar and ground of truth, according to Timothy. 2, in which the universal infallibility of the Church seems to be contained no less in that the Church cannot err in recognizing the true visible rule of her faith, than in believing in other things by faith: for an error would harm the Church more in regard to the very rule of truth and faith than in regard to other particular objects, since there was an error in the very foundation of the faith; since therefore the visible rule, which the Church follows in its faith and which all must follow, is its visible head, that is, the Supreme Pontiff, whose doctrine and definitions it must embrace, it follows that the Church cannot be deceived by accepting as the Pontiff and rule of faith, him who was not really the Pontiff and true rule of the Faith, but a Pseudo-Pope, and a private man.

328. This is confirmed first, because we must believe by faith everything defined in the Council of Trent, v. g. and in other legitimate general councils: therefore we must believe by faith that it is a legitimate council; just as we must believe by faith everything contained in the Gospel of Mark, so too we must also believe by faith that it is the true and canonical Gospel; for if we could reasonably doubt or fear the legitimacy of the Council, we could also doubt or fear its definitions. Since then the value of the Council depends on the consent and approval of the truth of the Supreme Pontiff, without which it has no infallible authority, it follows that the legitimacy of the Pontiff must be accepted with the same faith, since it is from him that the Council receives its legitimate authority and value.


Fr. Antonio De Alvalate
Cursus Theologicus...juxta mentem Doct. Joanni Dunsii Scoti, Tract II de Vera Relig., (Garcia a Lanza, 1757) Disp III, Quaest III.

Objectio decumitur ex doctrina satis nunc communi inter Theologos, quòd feilic et dit de fide hunc numero hominē v.g. INNOCENTIVM XI quimodò gubernat Ecclesiain , esse verum Christi Vicarium, & Successorem Petri . Quam doctrinam ego latè defendi in felectis Disputationibus de Fide , quas dictavi Salmanticæ anno 1684 camque disputationem ad finem huius tractatus adijciam , tanquam coronidem huius operis de infallibilitate Romani Pontificis in definiendo. Aliqui namque Doctores, vt defendant hanc conclusionem , requi runt tanquam conditionem, quòd homo ille prius sit communi consensu totius Ecclesiæ receptus vt verus Pontifex . Ex primis, si non primùs ex Scholafticis Theologicis , qui hoc docuerunt , fuit R.P: Franciſcus Suarez, quidiſpur. 5. de fide sect.8. num.12. testatur fuisse suo tempore quæstionem valde controuersam: 'An sit de fide, hunc Pontificem esse verum Pontificem;' & addit: 'Multi sentiunt non esse de fide: sed vix poterunt sustinere certitudinem fidei in rebus definitis à Pontifice , nisi consequenter dicant, non solum Pontificem verum, sed nec etiam reputatum ab Ecclesia posse errare definiendo, quod censet Bellarminus . 

Ego tamen ferè ante triginta annos hoc est, anno 1584 docui Rome  esse de fide, hunc Pontificem ese verum Pontificem, post quam sufficienti consensu totius Ecclesiæ receptus est, & ita approbatus ut omnes illi obedire teneantur, etiam in definitionibus fidei: quia hæc obligatio necessario supponit illam certam fidem, & illa veritas particularis et sufficienter consenta in universali dogmate, quòd Successor Petri est verus Pontifex, & tunc sufficienter applicatur , & fidelibus proponitur . Quam sententiam postea nostri vel publicis disputationibus, vel typis etiam nonnulli mandarunt.'   Hæc ibi P. Suarez , qui postea disput. 10 sect.5. num. 2. post quam aliorum Theologorum sententias reculit, subiungit: 'de fide esse hunc hominem , qui communi  Ecclesiæ consensone acceptus est ut caput Ecclesia, cui ipsa tenetur obedire, esse verum Ecclesiæ Pontificem, & Petri Successorem.

2. Hinc videtur validum confici argumentum ad probandum , sine absurdo dici posse, quòd requiratur Eccclesiæ confenfus , ad hoc vt definitio Pontificis sit absolutè infallibilis , & rem faciat de fide certam, sicut requiritur pacifica acceptatio huius nunc hominis electi in Papam, vt sit defide certum, illum esse verum Christi Vicarium , & legitimum Petri Succefforem, & non sufficit illum suisse revera legitimè electum.

3. Respondeo tamen disparem esse rationem. Nam acceptatio pacifica huius hominis in Papam, non est necessaria vt hic num homo sit verus Papa, sed est applicatio necessaria, vt omnibus certò constet, eius electionem suisse legitimam. Si enim independenter ab acceptatione pacifica omnibus sufficienter constaret certò, eius electionem fuisse ritè & canonicè factam , independenter ab acceptatione pacifica tenerentur omnes credere, hunc num hominem esse verum Papam.

Vt eniin explicat P. Suarez disp. illa 10. ſect. 5. num. 6. cùm Chriſtusreuelauit Petrum eſſe caput Ecclesiæ , pariter reuelauit generaliter sle omnibus, eius Successoribus, solumque de est , inquit Suarez, sufficiens propositio huius vel illius contenti sub illa revelatione; talis verò propositio habetur per universalem testificationem , & approbationem Ecclesiæ . Quod planè explicatur & confirmatur à simili casu: nun quam enim videtur Deus revelasse Episcopum Romanum esse potius Pontificem Summum, quàm Alexandrinum , quia nunquam hoc expressit Deus, sed in confuso tantùm dixit, quandoreuelauit Petro dignitatem & successonem , quia talis revelatio sese ostendit, & cædit in eos Episcopos, vel in eorum Episcopatum , in quo Petro succeditur, post quam illa successio sufficienter est Ecclesiæ proposita per traditionem, vel univeraalem consensionem. Quando verò intelligendum sit dari sufficientem propositionem , ita vt omnes obliget, quibusdam videtur tunc dari, cùm ritè , & verè electus, atque adeò verus, Pontifex proponitur : & hoc quide sufficienseft, vt ex præcepto obedientiæ , & charitatis tencamur tali Pontifici obedire , atque vt non posit quispiam iure ab illo disiungi sine schismate; attamen loquendo sufficiens propositio, donec moraliter constet, illum esse acceptatum à tota Eccleſia, & pacificè possidere suum primatum , atque adeò posse obligare omnes fideles ad credendum quidquid definierit tunc enim certissimè credendum est, non posse accidere errorem in universali Ecclesia in re adeò gravi, qualis esset deceptio in ipsa visa regula fidei credenda, nam is error æquipararetur errori in fide. Si enim regula posset esse falsa , etiam regulatum ; atque si intolerabilis error esset in Ecclesia, quando tota crederet librum aliquem esse canonicum  qui verè non esset, cùm tamen ille sit quædam regula fidei in animata, multò intolerabilius esset errare in visa regula; quin potius; si circa hanc posset semel dari error in universali Ecclesia , nunquam esset verum, illam habere certam, & infallibilem regulam vivam fidei sibi loquentem Christi nomine.

4. Itaque eximius Doctornon quidem firmiter, sed dubitanter, & cum formidine ( vt indicat particula fortasse ) censet , necessariam esse pacificam acccptationé Pontificis,adhoc vt sit de fide hunc num. hominem esse legitimum Petri Successorem , & verum Christi Vicarium, &vt omnes teneantur fide diuinâ credere, quæab illo in materia fidei & morum determinantur, & definiuntur; quia illa acceptatio videtur necessaria, vt constet authenticè de legitimitate electionis; quia quousque non fuerit pacificè acceptatus, non videtur sufficienter constare de legitimitate electionis: si quidem quamdiu pars aliqua orbis , seu aliqui Reges Catholici renuunt illum agnoscere pro legitimo Pontifice, datur aliqua ratio dubitandi , an electio eius fuerit legitima & Cañonica ; quia non poteft præsumi tam ingens piaculum de Principibus. Catholicis , quod ſcilicetnolintrecipere pro legitimo Pontifice illum hominem , quem constat esse ritè & legitimè electum . Quare si independenter ab acceptatione esset moraliter omninò certum, electionem suisse ritè & legitimè factam, independenter ab acceptatione esser obligatio credendi illum esse verum Pontificem . Nam in Concilio Conſsantienſi in Bullas Martini V. disponitur, vt ab hæreticis , qui Ecclesiæ Catholica volunt vilo conciliari, primùm omnium exigatur, an credant, Papam canonicè electum , quipro tempore fuerit ( eius nomine expreſſo ) esse Succefforem Petri, daboa bere supremam authoritatem in Ecclefia Dei. Eft ergo hoc, vt Concilium cum Pontifice, vel Pontifex eum Concilio supponit , de fide creden dum, vt rectè notae P: Suarez eaſect.g.num . 2. neque enim infra certitudinem fidei proponitur res immediatè credenda à Pontificibus, inquit ille. Ergo omnis ille ,cui certò conftiterit , hunc hominem v.g. INNOCENTIVM XI suisse canonicè electum ,tenetur credere eum esse Successorem Petri , & habere supremam authoritatem in Ecclesia Dei .

The objection is based on the doctrine now quite common among the Theologians, that it is de fide that this man,, e.g. INNOCENT XI, who now governs the Church, is the true Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter. Which doctrine I defended at length in the celebrated Disputations on Faith, which I dictated at Salmantica in 1684, and I will add the discussion at the end of this treatise, as the crown of this work in defining the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. For some of the Doctors, in order to defend this conclusion, require as a condition that that man should first be received by the common consent of the whole Church as the true Pontiff. Among the first, if not the first, among the Theological Scholars who taught this was R.P. Franciscus Suarez, quidiſpur. 5. on faith, sect. 8 number 12 testifies that in his time there was a very controversial question: 'Whether it is a matter of faith that this Pontiff is the true Pontiff;' And he adds: 'Many feel that it is not of faith: but they will scarcely be able to support the certainty of faith in matters defined by the Pontiff, unless they consequently say, not is that true for the Pope, but that not even the Church can err in what she holds definitively, as Bellarmine says.  However, almost thirty years ago, that is, in 1584, I taught Rome that it is de fide that the Pontiff is the true Pontiff, after he was received with the sufficient consent of the whole Church, and approved in such a way that all are bound to obey him, even in the definitions of the faith: because this obligation is necessarily he supposes that certain faith, and that truth particular and sufficiently agreed upon in the universal dogma, that the Successor of Peter is the true Pontiff, and is then sufficiently applied, and proposed to the faithful. And some of us, afterwards, either in public debates, or in print, dictated what our opinion was.'

Here P. Suarez, who later discusses 10 sect.5. whether 2. After which he retlates the opinions of other theologians, he adds: 'It is de fide that this man, who is accepted by the common consent of the Church as the head of the Church, to whom she is bound to obey, is the true Pontiff of the Church, and the Successor of Peter.

2. From this it seems that a strong argument can be made to prove it, it can be said without absurdity, that the ecclesiastical consensus is required, for this purpose the definition of the Pope is absolutely infallible, and makes the matter certain of faith, just as the peaceful acceptance of this man who is now elected as Pope is required, so that he is unfaithful it is certain that he is the true Vicar of Christ, and the legitimate successor of Peter;

3. I answer, however, that the reason is different. For the peaceful acceptance of this man as Pope is not necessary to ascertain whether this man is the true Pope, but the application is necessary, in order that it may be certain to all that his election is legitimate. For if, independently of peaceful acceptance, it were sufficiently certain for all, that his election had been duly and canonically made, all would be bound to believe, independently of peaceful acceptance, whether this man was the true Pope.

Vt eniin explains P. Suarez disp. that 10. sect. 5. whether 6. When Christ revealed Peter as the head of the Church, he also revealed it generally to all, his Successors, and it is only about him, says Suarez, that the proposition of this or that content under that revelation is sufficient. such a true proposition is held by the universal testimony and approval of the Church. This is clearly explained and confirmed by a similar case: for it seems that God revealed that the Roman Bishop was rather the Supreme Pontiff than the Alexandrian, because God never expressed this, but only said in confusion, when he revealed to Peter the dignity and succession, because such a revelation showed itself, and he cuts into those bishops, or into their episcopate, in which he succeeds Peter, after which that succession has been sufficiently proposed to the Church by tradition, or by universal consent. When it is truly to be understood that a sufficient proposal must be given, so that it obliges all, it seems to some that it is then given, when a properly and truly elected, and now true, Pontiff is proposed: and why is this sufficient, that we are bound by the precept of obedience and charity to obey such a Pontiff, and for he cannot put anyone by right to be separated from him without schism; however, speaking a sufficient proposition, until it is morally established, that he is accepted by the whole Church, and that he peacefully possesses his primacy, and that he can now oblige all the faithful to believe whatever he has determined, for then it must be most certainly believed that an error cannot occur in the universal Church in a matter that is so serious. What kind of deception would it be to believe in the very visible rule of faith, for that error would be equated with error in faith. For if a rule could be false, even the regulated; and if there was an intolerable error in the Church, when the whole believed that some book was canonical which was not really so, when it was nevertheless some rule of faith in the living, it would be much more intolerable to err in the visible rule. but rather; if there could once be an error about this in the universal Church, it would never be true that it should have a certain & infallible living rule of faith that speaks in the name of Christ.

4. And so the excellent Doctor, indeed, not firmly, but doubtfully, & with fear (perhaps the particle indicates) he thinks that the pacific acceptance of the Pope is necessary, and then it is de fide that the man is the legitimate Successor of Peter, and the true Vicar of Christ, and that all are bound to believe in with divine faith, that which they determine and define in matters of faith and morals; because that acceptance seems necessary, that is, it is established authentically about the legitimacy of the election; for as long as he has not been peacefully accepted, it does not seem to be sufficiently clear about the legitimacy of his election: if, indeed, as long as some part of the world, or some Catholic Kings, refuse to recognize him as a legitimate Pontiff, there is some reason to doubt whether his election was legitimate and canonical; because it cannot be assumed that such a huge stake is in the Princes. Catholics, that they refuse to accept as the legitimate Pontiff that man whom it is established that he was duly and legitimately elected. Therefore, if independently of the acceptance it were morally absolutely certain, the election of the Swiss duly and legitimately made, independently of the acceptance there would be an obligation to believe that he was the true Pontiff. For in the Council of Constance, in the bulls of Martin V., it is arranged, that from the heretics, who wish to conciliate the Catholic Church, it is demanded, first of all, whether they believe that the canonically elected Pope, for the time being (expressed by his name) to be the Succeedor of Peter, shall be given supreme authority in Church of God If, therefore, this is the case with the Council with the Pontiff, or the Pontiff supplants him with the Council, let them believe on faith, as it is rightly noted P: Suarez eaſect.g.num. 2. For, says he, "no thing is proposed to be immediately believed by the Popes below the certainty of faith." Therefore, every one to whom it is certain that this man, e.g. Innocent XI, who was canonically elected, is bound to believe that he is the Successor of Peter, and that he has supreme authority in the Church of God.

Domenico Palmieri

Tractatus de Romano Pontifice cum prolegomeno de Ecclesia, 3rd Edition (Prati: Ex Officina Libraria Giachetti, Filii et Soc., 1902). pp. 222-223

This is confirmed by the practice and doctrine of the Church, which, in addition to heresies, also proscribed errors contrary to the truths which faith presupposes, or which are deduced from faith and reason: cf. the articles of Nicholas of Ultri condemned by St. Sede or 1348. (Denzinger p. 183.), the articles of Wycliff and Hus condemned in the Council of Constantia and so many propositions condemned by the following Popes. Specifically with regard to dogmatic texts, the Fifth Council was forced to proscribe three chapters: as to dogmatic facts, Martin V in the Bull Inter cuncta orders that suspects be questioned "whether they believe that the Pope, canonically elected Pope, who has reigned for a time, in his proper name, is the successor Blesse Peter, and has supreme authority in the Church of God."  It is not defined, therefore, that he believes the truth in general, namely, that one canonically elected to the Roman See is the successor of Peter: but that this person (for that is what these words mean) expressed by his proper name, who now is Leo XIII, is the successor of Peter, having authority in the Church: this is a dogmatic fact. The Church therefore considers that it has the authority to propose such a truth to be held as a matter of faith by its subjects.   

Idem confirmatur praxi et doctrina Ecclesiae quae, praeter haereses , proscripsit quoque errores adversos veritatibus, quas fides supponit, vel quae ex fide et ratione deducuntur : cf. articulos Nicolai de Ultri curia damnatos a S. Sede an . 1348. ( Denzinger p . 183. ) , articulos Wiclephi et Hus damnatos in Concilio Constantiensi et tot propositiones a sequentibus Pontificibus damnatas . Speciatim quoad textus dogmaticos , Concilium V. coactum est pro proscribendis tribus capitulis : quoad facta dogmatica , Martinus V. in Bulla Inter cunctas praecipit interrogari suspectos « utrum credant quod Papa canonice electus, qui pro tempore fuerit, eius nomine proprio expresso , sit successor b. Petri , habens supremam auctoritatem in Ecclesia Dei » . Non solum ergo definitur, credendum generatim hoc verum, nempe quod canonice electus in Romanam Sedem sit successor Petri: sed quod haec persona (id enim sibi volunt ea verba: eius nomine proprio expresso), puta hic homo , qui dicitur Leo XIII, est successor Petri, habens auctoritatem in Ecclesia: hoc porro est factum dogmaticum . Ecclesia ergo censet aucto ritatem sibi competere proponendi huiusmodi vera et exigendi in ea fidem a subditis.

Dicimus 2 ° magisterium Ecclesiae quoad has quoque veritates esse infallibile . Etenim id requiritur illa eadem ratione, qua requiritur in his auctoritas Ecclesiae, quae facere non posset satis suo fini, si fal libilis esset . Hoc enim posito nec ipsa obligare valeret fideles ad cre dendum quod proponit , nec certo constaret verum esse quod ipsa docet : ideoque finis huius magisterii non obtineretur.  Et sane Ecclesia infallibilis esse debet in custodiendo deposito fidei; est enim columna et firmamentum veritatis: oportet ergo ut infallibilis sit in iis actibus, quibus depositum fidei custoditur; atqui huiusmodi actus non sunt solum definitiones dogmatis revelati haeresumque condemnationes, sed et ii sunt quibus errores proscribuntur, ex quibus damnum fidei oriri potest oppo sitaeque veritates statuuntur, quibus textuum dogmaticorum sensus determinatur: ergo in his quoque definiendis infallibilis est Ecclesia . Item infallibilitas est dos necessaria magisterii Ecclesiae; eo ergo se porriget quo ex officio sibi imposito se porrigit auctoritas docendi : atqui haec se extendit quoque ad alias veritates ; ergo . Et re quidem vera id semper creditum est in Ecclesia , in qua semper absolute affirmatum et retentum est Ecclesiae magisterium esse infal libile ; in qua , licet ea definita sint , quae non erant revelata ut e . g . tria capitula esse haeretica , nihilominus semper postulata est fides ea quae debetur magisterio infallibili . Ecclesia praeterea huiusmodi suis definitionibus assensum mentis interiorem praecepit eumque necessa rium esse decrevit et declaravit Clemens XI.

[1] See, for all, Franciscus Xav. Wernz, Petrus Vidal, "Ius canonicum", II, "De personis", apud aedes Universitatis Gregorianae, Romae, 1943, pp. 520-521. On this point Ludwig Billot, "Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi", I, Editio quinta, apud aedes Universitatis Gregorianae, Romae, 1927, p. 623 ss.