By Br. Alexis Bugnolo
As Saint Thomas Aquinas says, when the errors of our prelates are public and grave and constitute an imminent danger to the Church, we are obliged to break deferential silence and publicly correct them.
For that reason, I will take this occasion to publicly call upon fellow Catholics to ask Cardinal Brandmüller a simple question: Have you ever read Canon 332 §2?
I understand, that the general public might consider such a question proposed in public on a blog to be unseemly and insulting, and so let me explain why asking that question is germane for the Cardinal and for every other Cardinal in the Church.
I take occasion here to address a question to Cardinal Brandmüller because of an article he wrote on 2016, of which I just recently came to know of: Renuntiatio Papae. Alcune riflessioni storico-canonistiche, which appeared in Stato, Chiese e pluralismo confessionale, Rivista telematica (www.statoechiese.it), n. 26/2016, published by the Unviersità degli Studi: Milano.
In that article, the Cardinal discusses principally whether Papal resignations can be done and under what conditions. The article is a fine piece of scholarship, and I do not contest any other point of it, here. Rather, I wish to draw the reader’s attention to 3 glaring omissions in the text, which cause me to ask the Cardinal a public question.
The Cardinal cites Canon 332 §2 no less than 4 times in his Historico-Canonical Study, on pages 6, 7, 10 and 11. In the first case, in reference to a papal resignation being an extraordinary event; in the second, in reference to the conditions for a valid resignation,; in the third, that a papal resignation is morally licit; and in the fourth, again the conditions for a valid resignation.
In both cases, on page 7 and 11, the Cardinal declares that the only conditions for a valid resignation are, libere fiat et rite manifestetur, citing the Latin of the main clause of that canon, which Latin means: “be done freely and manifested according to the norm of law“.
Its not that he does not mention the introductory clause of both Canon 221 in the Code of Canon Law of 1917, and contextual affirms that the same introduction is had in Canon 332 §2. Nay, its rather that he misses the striking difference in the Canon of the New Code in comparison with the canon of the old code. Namely, that in the New Code, promulgated by Pope John Paul II, during the time (1983) with the future Pope Benedict XVi was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Legislator (Pope John Paul II) added words which is not found in the old canon: suo muneri.
How, anyone can read a Canon speaking about when a papal resignation occurs and is valid, and miss the key word of the introductory and fundamental conditional clause, is beyond me. But it seems that if a man so learned as this Cardinal can do it, perhaps all the other Cardinals have also done it. Maybe even Cardinal Burke, too?
And this is why my request that Catholics ask Cardinal Brandmuller a question is not disrespectful nor impertinent. Because has has been demonstrated by many others, and myself, the word munus takes on the condition of a sine non qua, that is, of a requirement for validity which cannot be obviated under any condition. Thus its manifestly wrong to speak of only 2 conditions for a papal resignation, since in the New Code, papal resignations only occur when the Pope resigns the Petrine Munus.
This is important, because in regard to Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, the Latin text renounced only the or a ministerium received, NOT the papal munus. This is important, because if Pope Benedict never resigned his office, the conclave of 2013 was uncanonical and Bergoglio is an Anti-Pope in every canonical sense of the word.
For those who want to understand the correct canonical argument, why Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope and why Bergoglio was never pope, supported by Canon Law and all the evidence, and put in simple terms, see “How and Why Pope Benedict’s Resignation is invalid by the law itself.” For a scholastic argument demonstrating that the text of the resignation does not effect a resignation of office, see my disputed question, here at From Rome, linked under the words “many others” just above here.
For the text of the resignation, translations, other articles, etc., see the same link under the words, “many others”, where I recite the history of the controversy.
PHOTO Credits: The New York Times, retrieved via Google Images.