If one looks on the internet, one can find references to small groups claiming to be Catholic which follow various self-proclaimed "popes."
One of such groups is of new followers of the “Siri Thesis”, claiming to have its own “pope Gregory XVIII”, a “pope Gregory XVII’s” successor.
First we need to know that the “Siri Thesis” by its very first authors never intended it as a presentation of absolute truth. It was named a “thesis” precisely because it is unproven and in the interests of having others contribute the evidence to it to either show its truth, or its false. And Second, the “Siri Thesis” is not a theological, or moral, or certain historical fact.
Here we are talking more about the new theorists who were not among the first, but who started their own branch of the “Thesis” seventeen years later, when the first realized the futility of proving something that had never actually happened.
The new Siri theorists claim that during the papal conclave of 1958, Giuseppe Cardinal Siri was elected the Pope on the very first day of the conclave, October 26, and took the name “Gregory XVII”. They “argue” that the Cardinal Siri, was actually elected the Pope, but that his election was suppressed, leading to the election of Angelo Roncalli, who became “John XXIII”. The followers of this “Thesis” say that Cardinal Siri remained the "true Pope" until his death in 1989, but was "impeded" from serving as the Pope.
It is important to emphasize that the "Siri Thesis" is built upon one key point: the issue of the "white smoke" that poured out of the Sistine Chapel chimney for a brief time around 6:00 pm on October 26, 1958, before changing to black. The “Thesis” says that Cardinal Siri was elected on that occasion, that the smoke was white to signal his election, but that the color changed to black when the conclave annulled or overturned Siri’s election.
Sorry, but to read in the smoke a name of a person who was elected the Pope, it rather looks like predictions of pagan oracles.
Also, the new Siri theorists spread another legend, invented by one "VIP" priest after the death of Cardinal Siri. But the problem of the legend is that this "VIP" is the only "witness" of the Cardinal Siri “secret papacy”. This legend appeared on the new Siri theorists’ websites in 2005, after Cardinal Siri and those involved were already dead. Nothing more need to be said here, because the legend contradicts the principle given us by the Holy Scripture: "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word stand" (2 TO THE CORINTHIANS 13:1).
Fr. Malachi Martin’s (23 July 1921 - 27 July 1999) and Fr. Charles Roux’s (12 Dec 1914 - 8 Aug 2014) private opinions, exploited by the Siri theorists, also cannot be used as an evidence, because both of these priests were not present at the 1958 Conclave, and thus they did not know what happened during the Conclave. Fr. Malachi Martin served as a guest commentator for CNN during the live coverage of the “pastoral” visit of “John Paul II” to the United States 4-8 October 1995. In the final years before his death, Fr. Malachi was received in a private audience by “John Paul II”. Fr. Charles Roux’s also was an active member of Vatican II. Both of them were Vatican II clerics who said masses una cum Vatican II "popes".
Let's look at the Church teaching about Papal election.
CANONICAL ELECTIONS, Dissertation By DANIEL M. GALLIHER, O. P., J. C. L.:
“On December 25, 1904, Pius X published a constitution "Vacante Sede Apostolica," in which he determined the present mode of papal election, and at the same time abolished all previous legislation on this point, except that contained in his former constitution "Commissum Nobis," and in that of Leo XIII "Praedecessores Nostri."
"All are equally sworn to secrecy concerning those things which relate to the election under pain of excommunication ipso facto incurred."
"The ballots are counted, verified by the revisors, and burned in the presence of the cardinals." (1)
A COMMENTARY ON THE NEW CODE OF CANON LAW By THE REV. P. CHAS. AUGUSTINE:
"The ballots must be burned." (2)
Let's look at another "argument" from the arsenal of the new followers of the new "Siri Thesis":
- A Vatican radio announcement that a Pope was elected.
Not a radio journalist, but the senior cardinal deacon from the loggia of St. Peter's announces the name of the new Pope:
"If a candidate received the two-thirds vote, the cardinal dean approaches the newly elected pontiff and asks him whether he will accept the election and by what name he wishes to be known. If he accepts, all the cardinals arise, and the canopies of all the chairs are lowered, except that of the pope, who is conducted behind the altar where he is clothed in the papal garments. Returning to the pontifical chair, the cardinals pay him the first homage by kissing his foot and then his hand; they in turn receive the kiss of peace. The cardinal dean places upon his finger the fisherman's ring. These ceremonies over, the senior cardinal deacon proceeds to the loggia of St. Peter's facing the great piazza, and then announces to the assembled multitude the glad tidings of the election. The populace then enters the great basilica, where from the elevated loggia the new pontiff gives his first Apostolic Blessing Urbi et Orbi - to the city and the world." (3)
It is well known that on October 26, 1958, nothing of the kind happened to Giuseppe Cardinal Siri.
When the new Siri theorists claim that they know what happened at the 1958 Conclave, they cannot be trusted, because:
- They cannot know the things inside of the conclave, because they did not participate in the election;
- They were not in a direct contact with the cardinals-voters;
- The cardinals-voters, with whom the theorists were not in a direct contact, sworn to secrecy concerning those things which relate to the election under pain of excommunication ipso facto, therefore could not share information with anyone;
- A legend by a “VIP” priest appeared on the new Siri theorists’ websites in 2005, after Cardinal Siri and those involved were already dead;
- The “Siri Thesis” based on the “smoke arguments” is simply a “Smoke Thesis”;
- Cardinal Siri was not elected a Pope; since October 26, 1958 until May 2, 1989 he was a Novus Ordo bishop who publicly accepted the authority of four Vatican II “popes”, “John XXIII”, “Paul VI”, “John Paul I”, and “John Paul II”.
Therefore, the “Siri Thesis” being a “Smoke Thesis” isn’t true and must be discarded as a myth that has nothing neither with the Catholic Faith nor the historic reality.
(1) (3) CANONICAL ELECTIONS
SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF THEOLOGY OF
THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE DOCTOR OF CANON LAW
By DANIEL M. GALLIHER, O. P., J. C. L.
Catholic University of America
Nihil Obstat: +THOMAS J. SHAHAN, S. T. D., Censor Deputatus.
Imprimatur: +M. CARD. GIBBONS, Archiepiscopus Baltimorensis.
FR. JOSEPHUS KENNEDY, O. P., S. T. M.
FR. AUGUSTINUS WALDRON, O. P., S. T. M.
Imprimatur: FR. RAYMUNDUS MEAGHER, O. P., S. T. L., Prior Provincialis.
The Rosary Press, Somerset, Ohio
(2) A COMMENTARY ON THE NEW CODE OF CANON LAW
By THE REV. P. CHAS. AUGUSTINE, O.S.B., D.D. Professor of Canon Law,
VOLUME II, Clergy and Hierarchy (Can. 160) pp. 117-119
B. HERDER BOOK CO. 17 SOUTH BROADWAY, ST. Louis, Mo.
AND 68 GREAT RUSSELL ST. LONDON, W. C. 1918
CUM PERMISSU SUPERIORUM
NIHIL OBSTAT Sti. Ludovici, die Sept. 7, 1918. F. G. Holweck, Censor Librorum.
IMPRIMATUR Sti. Ludovici, die Sept. 8, 1918. +Joannes J. Glennon, Archiepiscopus, Sti. Ludovici.
Copyright, 1918 by Joseph Gummersbach. All rights reserved. Printed in U. S. A.