By Br. Alexis Bugnolo
In controversies, we often forget the higher principles and end up disputing only in regard to the minutiae. This is dangerous, because the chief motives, especially in controversies in the Church, should depend upon Eternal and Divine principles.
For this reason, it is important for us to remember that Christ Jesus founded the Catholic Church and is the Author and Grantor of all ecclesiastical offices: offices, which are of supernatural origin and to which He has affixed a gift of grace (munus) which cannot be alienated except by explicit renunciation.
We know this by Divine Revelation. For when He asked Simon bar Johan what men thought of Himself, Peter responded: Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
To which Our Lord, Messiah and Redeemer responded: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Gospel of Saint Matthew, Chapter 16)
We often fail to recognize, that by a Divine Promise God, who cannot be bound and obligated to man, has nevertheless bound and obligated Himself to man in what He has promised. In regard to the Petrine Office (munus petrinum), Christ has actually bound HIMSELF to the official acts of the Roman Pontiff and to the words thereof. He has thus WILLED as GOD not to act, if the Roman Pontiff does not allow Him to act, and to act when the Roman Pontiff allows Him to act.
While this binding of God to Peter is not universal, it nevertheless does regards Papal Acts, where the man who is Pope acts as pope. It also regards the man who is pope, inasmuch as he is a man, in the matter of accepting and renouncing the Papal Office (munus petrinum). For when a man accepts his election or acclamation as Pope, Christ bestows on the man the office and gift of grace (munus) which he gave Saint Peter to be passed on to the Bishops of Rome until the end of time. The Church in Her wisdom has signified this office and gift of grace with the only Latin word which means both office and gift, “munus”.
No other Latin word having such a meaning, Pope John Paul II, as legislator of the New Code of Canon Law, promulgated in 1983, added munus to Canon 322 §2, as the fundamental condition to spark, as it were, the recognition of a papal resignation.
While men can ignore that word in canon 332 §2, Christ cannot.
This is no exaggeration, no mere human opinion. Because since it is of Divine Faith that Christ promised to bind and loose according to the word of His Vicar. His vicar in adding that word to the canon regarding papal resignation, did bind Christ Himself not to withdraw the office and gift of grace (munus), if the munus were NOT renounced.
The Sacred Hierarchy, and especially the College of Cardinals, need to recognize this fundamental theological truth of Christology and Ecclesiology, and return to a correct recognition of the facts of the case. They must ignore what men say about what happened on February 11, 2013 on the basis of what a pool reporter, with little knowledge of Latin thought Benedict signified. They must ignore what all who think what that act signified. They must attend solely to Canon 332 §2 according to what that canon says in its Latin official text. They must read it in accord with canon 17 and the text Non solum propter.
They must recognize, that when the Vicar of Christ does not renounce the office and gift of grace which Christ gave to him alone, Christ cannot transfer it to another, even if the whole Church wants Him to transfer it. He cannot act, until His Vicar acts. And even if His vicar is confused due to old age, He cannot act.
Thus, it’s indubitably true that Pope Benedict XVI is still the Pope, and that Christ Himself regards Benedict alone as His Vicar on Earth. God Himself can do no other. He cannot break His promise to Peter.