Or How one Eminent Canonist at Rome
Just Admitted that Bergoglio is a Usurper
by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
The salvation of souls is the most important thing. That is why in the time of perfidy and falsehood it is a grave moral obligation to warn the faithful of the imminent danger to their souls, from whatever quarter that threat comes.
I too, personally, cannot comprehend or contemplate the prudence that would keep silent while letting wolves gobble up sheep and ship them off in boat-loads to Hell.
That is why, I think every catholic who is struggling with the question of whether Berogoglio is the Pope or whether Benedict did not really resign, needs to read the report I file here below.
I say this because I have just had the occasion to talk with one of the most eminent and respected canonists in the Church and show him my Disputed Question on the Renunciation. He holds a doctorate in Canon Law and a very important position in the Academic world here at Rome. I met with him this morning, as he graciously granted me an audience despite knowing something about my writing on the subject. I respect that.
And for that reason, since I am interested in truth, and not in damaging reputations, I won’t mention his name. But since what he said is important and needs to be heard by everyone in the Church, I will summarize as best I can remember. (I did not record the conversation, and what follows is not a transcript.)
I explained my academic background and preparation. Then I mentioned the comment of Mons. Nicola Bux, last year in October, about the possibility that in the Renunciation of Pope Benedict there was a substantial error which made it invalid to cause him to lose the office of the Papacy, then we discussed the problem according to canonical principles.
This eminent canonist in the course of our 20 minute conversation, agreed with me on the following points of law:
- A papal resignation falls under the category of legal acts which pertain to the cessation of power.
- The cessation of power is never presumed, it must be manifest in the legal act.
- The Roman Curia assists the Pope in the exercise of the Petrine Ministry, but no one in the Curia, not even the Secretary of State shares in the Petrine Munus.
- During a sedevacante there can be no innovation in the law.
- If Ratzinger did validly resign, then from the moment he did, there was a sede vacante.
- During a sede vacante the entire Church is obliged to judge who is not pope and who is pope based on the norm of the law, not on the hearsay or claims of anyone, let alone journalists.
- Canon 145 §1 does define every ecclesiastic office as a munus.
- Canon 332 §2 does require the Church to recognize that a papal renunciation takes place when there is a free and manifest renunciation of the Petrine Munus.
- Canon 1331 §2, n. 4, does not forbid an excommunicate to exercise or hold a ministry in the Church, and does not equate ministerium with dignity, office or munus.
- Christ’s promise and prayer for the Successor of Saint Peter is infinitely more important of a support for the Pope than all the prayers and good works of the Church for the Pope.
- It is necessary that the entire Church take care that a Petrine Succession, that is, the passing of the office of the papacy from one man to another, takes place in the way canon law and the will of Christ intend it.
- Our concern for the solution of this problem should be based on the highest charity and justice for both Benedict and Francis.
- There is no canon in the Code of Canon Law which says that ministerium = munus.
So much for what we agreed on. It was very substantial, and I much appreciated the occasion to speak with such a brilliant mind on the law.
However, we had fundamental disagreements. Here I will list those which I remember. These are positions which I do not hold, but represent substantially those of the canonist:
- Any questioning of the legitimacy of Pope Francis for the purpose of taking from him a legal claim to the Papacy is the greatest evil in the Church.
- Any canonical study or investigation which so questions Pope Francis’s claim if it is motivated by such a motive, is to be entirely refused before even being heard.
- Scholastic theology is not the mind of the Church and it does not determine reality.
- Canon Law does not determine reality.
- Munus is contained in ministerium, so he who exercises ministerium holds a munus.
- Canon 17, which establishes the legal norm for the interpretation of every canon, is not operative in any discussion of Pope Francis’ legitimacy or Benedict’s resignation.
- Catholics investigating either issue should read and accept the scholarly works of only those authors who sustain that Bergoglio’s claim is valid and the Benedict’s resignation is valid.
The usurpation of power is an act whereby someone who does not have claim to a right, claims that right. We live in an age of usurpation, as can be seen from the daily news. But when you encounter a canonist who takes the position that the holding of power makes legitimate the claim to power, you are face-to-face with proof that there is no reason or legal obligation to support their revolution.
So, though we did not discuss the opinions of Cardinal Burke, when I consider that Cardinal Burke called all who question the legitimacy of Pope Francis’ claim to the papacy, “extremists”, I wonder what he would say on these same points. Because what is extremism, in the bad sense of the word, anyhow? Is it claiming that 2+2 must = 4, and that those who say it does not are wrong? Or is it saying that anyone who questions a legal claim, because it lacks a foundation in law and right, is nuts?
The most egregious affirmations made by this canonist are contained in nn. 5 and 6. To reject the norm of canon 17 in the reading of the Code is basically to throw in the dust bin any obligation to hold that the Code means what Pope John Paul II said it meant and what it itself or canonical tradition says it means.
To claim that munus is contained in ministerium is pretty much to reject the entire Incarnation, because that is the doctrine of those Christians who claim that the doing of a ministry gives you authority. It’s the protestant principle of office, as a very eminent historian of the comparison of ecclesiastical office in the Catholic Church and the churches of the Reformation recently affirmed to me in a private chat.
So, basically, if munus is contained in ministerium, then if anyone starts dressing like the Pope and acting like the pope, nominating bishops and consecrating them, THEN HE IS THE POPE! Because, after all the papal office is contained in the papal ministry, do the ministry and you have the office!
Finally, for a canonist to say that Canon Law does not determine reality in a discussion on the question of the canonical validity of the Renunciation is basically to concede that the Renunciation is clearly and manifestly NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE NORM OF CANON 332 §2.
So the next time anyone tells you that you must accept Pope Francis as the pope BECAUSE OTHERWISE you are a sinner or a heretic or a schismatic, maybe you should reply,
“In the Catholic Church only he is pope who has been canonically elected after the death or canonical resignation of the previous man. If one of the most eminent canonists of Rome, who supports Pope Francis, admitted to Br. Bugnolo on Nov. 19, that the Renunciation is not in conformity with the canonical requirements of the law, then I think I have an UNSHAKEABLE RIGHT by baptism to refuse Bergoglio as a usurper, for clearly, Bergoglio’s own supporters after nearly 7 years should have a canonical argument which proves his claim! And if they do not, there is none! And if there is none, why in Heaven or Earth, to I have to accept him without such a claim?”
POSTSCRIPT: It is VERY noteworthy that this eminent Canonist did not use certain arguments. He did Not:
- Cite the maxim referenced in Canon 1404, the First See is judged by no one (Prima sedes a nemine iudicatur), because he recognizes that an act of renunciation is of the man who holds the office, in as much as he is the man who accepted the office, not inasmuch as he is the man who holds the office.
- Appeal to universal acceptance: a crazed notion invented by some English speaking laymen, who having selectively quoted from John of Saint Thomas, want to apply a reflex principle, developed in an age before there was a Code of Canon Law, for troubled consciences in the time of a valid election, to silence honest inquiries into an invalid election which the principles of the Code of Canon Law clearly put it in doubt.
- Employ any ad hominems. That is, he did not insult me or question my motivation.
- Appeal to any meeting held in the Vatican after Feb 11, 2013 12 pm, noon, and before Feb. 28, 8 pm, when Benedict left the Vatican, in which there was an official determination or discussion of the canonical validity of the act to determine it was valid. Being an expert canonist at Rome, he would have heard of any, after nearly 7 years.
- And most importantly, perhaps, he made NO appeal to anything said by Benedict after Feb. 28, 2013, evidently because as a sane canonist, he recognizes that no testimony after the fact, regarding liberty or intention, has any bearing on the validity of a past act. Both need to be manifest in the act itself at the time of the act.
CREDITS: My photograph of the Holy Water fount at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. The sculpture beneath it shows a cherub inviting the faithful to bless themselves with the Holy Water, while a demon cringes that anyone do something so extremist.
THANKS TO MY READERS: I wish to take this moment to thank all my Readers at this blog for encouraging me in my work and study to study the Renunciation. I would not have been prepared to debate the Renunciation with this eminent canonist, if I had not already learned a great deal from trying to answer your many questions and concerns during the last year.