Cardinal Burke responds to questions about the validity of Pope Francis’ election

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Cardinal Burke at the Rome Life Forum in Rome, May 18, 2018. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews

John-Henry Westen

August 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke has responded to questions about the validity Pope Francis’ papacy in light of revelations by cardinal electors suggesting that there was an organized campaign to secure his election. 

The cardinal, who is an expert in canon law and is former head of the Vatican’s highest court, spoke to the issue in an interview on The Patrick Coffin Show that aired August 13. (See the discussion beginning at 19:24.) 

Coffin asked: “Some Catholics are wondering if it's permissible to investigate at least whether or not the 1995 apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis by St. John Paul II  -- who laid down norms for future papal conclaves -- whether those rules were violated and whether or not the whole election of Pope Francis might be invalid. Is there any foundation to that speculation?” 

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The apostolic constitution prescribes how papal elections are to take place and suggests that an election would be invalid if it contravened the constitution. Paragraph 76 of the document reads: “Should the election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed, the election is for this very reason null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected.” 

Cardinal Burke responded to Coffin, saying: "The only grounds that I think could be used for calling into question the validity of the election would be if the election was organized by a campaign beforehand which is strictly forbidden and that would be very difficult to demonstrate." 

“People talk about this extra ballot that was taken, but I’ve studied that question and I don’t see that it would in any way call into question the validity of the election,” Cardinal Burke added. 

Cardinal Burke said: “There are declarations that were made by the late Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the Archbishop of Brussels and Mechelin, who talks about this Sankt Gallen group and how they were meeting first to oppose Pope Saint John Paul II and … continued to be very opposed to Pope Benedict XVI.” 

“The autobiographer of the late Cormac Murphy-O’Connor talks about this and there are indications, but I think if it could be demonstrated that these persons engaged in an active campaign to first undermine Pope Benedict XVI and at the same time to engineer the election of someone who will be radically different, that could be an argument,” he added. 

“I don’t think that I have in hand the facts, and they have to be facts, demonstrable facts, to prove that. But that’s all I could say about that.” 

Coffin then raised another point which seems to indicate an organized campaign for Pope Francis with the speech given at Villanova University by disgraced then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick who boasted of lobbying for the election of Jorge Bergoglio – now Pope Francis. 

Cardinal Burke responded, “There certainly are the indications, but from that we would have to establish concrete proofs of this. The speech at Villanova of Theodore McCarrick certainly creates a great suspicion but I don’t know if there are people who would be able to demonstrate this or not.”

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