by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
This is an interesting and informative discussion, but inasmuch as it does not address canon 17 or canon 188, it presents no clear conclusion, which only comes from the determination of Canon Law, since the question of what Pope Benedict XVI’s Declaratio effects or means is formally a canonical one.
However, on theological grounds the conversation also misses a major point, namely, that the connection between the Papal Primacy and the Roman Church, even if not of divine right, is of apostolic right, and that, though the Successors of Saint Peter hold the same office as Peter, they do not exercise the full authority of the Saint as Apostle, and therefore, they cannot separate the Papacy from the Church of Rome. The theological reason is that the Successors of Saint Peter are servants, not lords, of the Deposit of the Faith, which includes, among other things, Apostolic Tradition. Thus the decision of Peter to fix his Office as Pope to the Roman Church, which decision was made by Apostolic authority, and passes into Apostolic Tradition, is not something over which the successors of Saint Peter have authority. Yes, they can go and live anywhere in the world they want to, but they remain Bishop of Rome, of which there can be no other, unless in law the other be an auxiliary or vicar. Since Benedict did not grant such authority IN LAW to Bergoglio, Bergoglio has zero authority over the Church of Rome and zero authority over the Catholic Church on Earth.
Nevertheless, the discussion in the video sheds a lot of light on the intentions of Pope Benedict XVI in his own language, and how he may have intended to separate the Primacy from the Bishopric of Rome.