With regard to the recent Edward Pentin piece, something stood out to me that I believe will be the next Trad/Novus Ordo Inc. failed strategy to try and cover up the obvious in order to avoid any revenue and prestige disruptions as you mention. That is, they will make satisfying their own standard of proof impossible.
I suspect the next major Trad/Novus Ordo Inc. line of attack was contained in Roberto De Mattei’s statement in the article:
Until then, De Mattei believes Catholics have every right to resist what they see as problems with this pontificate, but they must consider Francis “a legitimate Pope, until proven otherwise.
“To deny this fact, express doubts, clues or hypotheses are not enough,” he said. “Sure proof is needed, shared by an authoritative portion of the Catholic world. This does not seem to me to be the case, at least until today.”
Notice the sleight of hand here? He shifts the burden onto the laity to provide “sure proof” (is that beyond a reasonable doubt, preponderance of the evidence, 100% certainty, what?) that Benedict is actually the Pope and not Bergoglio and then adds on the additional requirement that an “authoritative portion” (whatever that is) of the Catholic world must agree. Is any of that in canon law? How much evidence, how much proof will these people require from the average pew sitter like myself before they will admit Benedict attempted an illegal, and invalid resignation that is void ab initio?
Why do we have the burden of proof and not Bergoglio or Trad/Novus Ordo Inc.? Is it because John Salza says the resignation is just like an externally valid marriage, and the Church doesn’t “judge internals”? Oh wait, Canon 188 specifically makes Benedict’s “internals” relevant since it assumes there was some type of external manifestation of a resignation in the first place. Why don’t THEY voluntarily assume the burden of proof to show Benedict’s resignation passed the Canon 188 test? Answer: because they can’t prove it, and all the available evidence shows Benedict intended to split the active and contemplative components of the office and resigned in substantial error.
Any civil lawyer will tell you (and Chris Ferrara and those others lawyers know this very well), the first and most important thing for a court to determine before deciding any issue is WHO has the burden of proof, and WHAT is that burden. It can make or break the outcome of a case. Nothing can be decided without first addressing that. Watch out for this.