I was prompted to write today after stumbling upon a twitter post that states: “Retweet if you think Pope Benedict XVI should be declared a Doctor of the Church.” That pretty much sums up where we are today.

For all the good that he did, for whatever faults he may have had, becoming a Doctor of the Church is not the product of an internet influence campaign. Or, if it become so these days, we are so far gone from any spirit of Catholicity that the mind reels at the unlikeliness of getting that spirit back. Neither is the question of which (if either)of any two persons is Pope subject to any internet influence campaign.

The gloating in some quarters over those who think that Pope Benedict XVI did not effectively resign the papal office as “sedevacantists”, or as facing a crisis of faith, or as being definitively proven wrong, betrays how little they understand of the Church, the papacy, and the duties of a Catholic. I don’t know some of the more famous internet gloaters personally, but it doesn’t speak well either for their intelligence or their honesty. One of two things happened in February 2013: Pope Benedict abdicated the papacy or he did not abdicate the papacy. That’s it. There can be at any time one pope, or none. Not two.

If he did abdicate, there is nothing in the death of Pope Benedict that changes it; if he did not, likewise, there is nothing in his death that changes that. Bergoglio, if he be not pope, does not inherit it with the passing of the pope. Nor does Bergoglio’s mere survival over his rival work to prove his claim like some trial by ordeal.

So, if the issue is not soluble, as a friend noted to me today, until a future date and/or event, do not ever abandon the Church. She is the ark of salvation, and will not fail. God loves us, and does not seek to mislead us. He has this. And Mary is on the job– she will crush the serpent’s head. And maybe cut people a break for being confused in a truly wretched time.

No matter what or when or how, the Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is the only true Church, founded by Christ, and outside of which there is no salvation.

And this may be a good time to state again publicly what I have said many times, and that informs any mere statement of opinion or question I ever address or have addressed concerning “the two popes” question: I accept Unam Sanctam. I willingly submit to the true Roman Pontiff, even if it is Bergoglio. If instead the seat is temporarily vacant until further events, I willingly await God’s foreordained plan and trust in His providence. This doesn’t unsay any of my opinions or questions or beliefs– not at all. It just means that as a human being who can err on all kinds of things, I could be wrong on any particular belief that is not part of the deposit of faith guaranteed by the Church. That’s it. That’s the last this unimportant layman has to say on it, unless such an event or future date makes things clear.

Therefore, keep the Faith. Have Hope. Live in Charity. This has all been foreseen by an All-loving, All-powerful God.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.