Category Archives: Ecclesiology

The Dictatus of Pope St. Gregory VII


by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In the present hour of darkness and confusion, it behooves all to turn their gaze back to the sound and eternal judgement of the saintly popes of old, of which one of the greatest was Pope Saint Gregory VIII, in life called Hildebrand, who single-handedly saved the Catholic Church from the filthy and avaricious hands of godless men who usurped the right to name Bishops, Abbots and distribute the benefices of the Church to their friends and political allies.

During his papacy, there was entered into the official register of papal laws, the Dictatus papae, a collection of solemn truths which regard the Catholic Faith on the Papal Primacy and the Roman Church. See here for the Latin text and a copy of one of the most ancient manuscripts containing it.

Due to the relative obscurity of this magisterial text, I share with you now the text in both Latin and my English translation. (The Video above includes the Latin text) I pray that it might be for your enlightenment and for the confirmation of your faith in these troubled times, when true doctrine is being so obscured.

Dictatus Papae

Number Latin English translation
I Quod Romana ecclesia a solo Domino sit fundata. That the Roman Church has been founded by the Lord alone.
II Quod solus Romanus pontifex iure dicatur universalis. That the Roman Pontiff alone is called “universal” by right.
III Quod ille solus possit deponere episcopos vel reconciliare. That He alone can depose and/or reconcile Bishops.
IV Quod legatus eius omnibus episcopis presit in concilio etiam inferioris gradus et adversus eos sententiam depositionis possit dare. That His legate takes precedence in council to all bishops even when he is of inferior grade and can give a sentence of deposition against them.
V Quod absentes papa possit deponere. That the Pope can depose those absent.
VI Quod cum excommunicatis ab illo inter cetera nec in eadem domo debemus manere. That among other things we neither ought to remain in the same house of the one excommunicated by him.
VII Quod illi soli licet pro temporis necessitate novas leges condere, novas plebes congregare, de canonica abatiam facere et e contra, divitem episcopatum dividere et inopes unire. That for him alone is it licit, according to the necessity of time to establish new laws, to welcome new peoples, to make new abbacies of canonical right and, contrariwise, to divide rich bishoprics and unite needy ones.
VIII Quod solus possit uti imperialibus insigniis. That he alone can use the imperial insignia.
IX Quod solius pape pedes omnes principes deosculentur. That all princes are to kiss the feet of the pope alone.
X Quod illius solius nomen in ecclesiis recitetur. That the name of him alone is to be recited in the churches (in the Canon of the Mass).
XI Quod hoc unicum est nomen in mundo. That this (his name as Pope) is the only one in the world.
XII Quod illi liceat imperatores deponere. That for him it is licit to depose emperors.
XIII Quod illi liceat de sede ad sedem necessitate cogente episcopos transmutare. That for him it is licit when driven by necessity to transfer bishops from see to see.
XIV Quod de omni ecclesia quocunque voluerit clericum valeat ordinare. That he validly ordains any cleric from every church wheresoever.
XV Quod ab illo ordinatus alii eclesie preesse potest, sed non militare; et quod ab aliquo episcopo non debet superiorem gradum accipere. That the one ordained by him can take charge of any church, but not serve as a soldier; and that he ought not accept a superior grade from any bishop.
XVI Quod nulla synodus absque precepto eius debet generalis vocari. That no synod without his precept ought to be called “general”.
XVII Quod nullum capitulum nullusque liber canonicus habeatur absque illius auctoritate. That no chapter be held and no canonical book be recognized without his authority.
XVIII Quod sententia illius a nullo debeat retractari et ipse omnium solus retractare possit. That his sentence ought to be retracted by no one and that he alone can retract that of all.
XIX Quod a nemine ipse iudicare debeat. That he himself be judged by no one.
XX Quo nullus audeat condemnare apostolicam sedem apellantem. That no one dare condemn the one appealing to the Apostolic See.
XXI Quod maiores cause cuiscunque ecclesie ad eam referri debeant. That the greater cases of every church whatsoever ought to be referred to Her.
XXII Quod Romana ecclesia nunquam erravit nec imperpetuum scriptura testante errabit. That the Roman Church has never erred nor shall ever err in perpetuity, as Scripture testifies.
XXIII Quod Romanus pontifex, si canonice fuerit ordinatus, meritis beati Petri indubitanter efficitur sanctus testante sancto Ennodio Papiensi episcopo ei multis sanctis patribus faventibus, sicut in decretis beati Symachi pape continetur. That the Roman Pontiff, if he has been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made holy by the merits of Blessed Peter, according to the testimony of Saint Ennodius, Bishop of Pavia, with many holy Fathers favoring him, just as is contained in the decrees of Blessed Pope Symachus.
XXIV Quod illius precepto et licentia subiectis liceat accusare. That by his precept and license it is licit for his subjects to bring accusations.
XXV Quod absque synodali conventu possit episcopus deponere et reconciliare. That he can depose and reconcile bishops without the convening of a synod.
XXVI Quod catholicus non habeatur, qui non concordat Romane ecclesie. That one is not to be held to be Catholic, who is not in agreement with the Roman Church.
XXVII Quod a fidelitate iniquorum subiectos potest absolvere. That he can absolve the subjects of the iniquitous from fealty.

St. Joseph Foundation: The Decision to shut down parishes is contrary to the Gospel & Canon Law


But even if it were, the way the Bishops have closed Churches
is completely contrary to the Gospel:
Anti-Pope, Anti-Church, Anti-Bishops, Anti-Gospel, Anti-Parishes

Pastoral Remedies in Time of the Corona Panic

An excerpt of the Original at Saint Joseph’s Foundation’s website, here in PDF.

By Philip C. L. Gray, JCL

Questions Answered

I turn now to apply the principles noted above and answer some of the questions we have received.

1. Does a diocesan bishop have the authority to cancel “non-essential” activities in a parish, such as Stations of the Cross, CCD, bible studies, etc.?

Generally speaking, no. A pastor is the administrator of his parish. Under jurisprudence, it is the pastor, not the bishop, who can set Mass schedules. I have won and lost cases because of that jurisprudence. That being true, it would be the pastor, not the bishop, who is entrusted with making decisions about what is essential and what is not. He should do so with guidelines from the bishop, but not prohibitions. This is the principle of subsidiarity at work. The pastor should also prudently weigh the circumstances, risks and benefits associated with his decision.

2. What are the canonical issues involved with a bishop shuttering churches and suspending all public Masses?

For a bishop to do this, he must issue a decree that is motivated in fact and specific to the circumstances he is addressing. The decree must be properly promulgated and thereby actionable; that is, open to challenge. More at issue is that the faithful have a Divine Law right to the sacraments. Personally, I do not believe such a directive is legitimate but the circumstances for appeal would be too burdensome and probably not resolved until after the pandemic has passed. For this reason, the Faithful are encouraged to find other, more favorable ways to obtain the sacraments while also petitioning their bishop to provide the sacraments. The Faithful should also use acceptable means to persuade a bishop to allow public Masses with prudent measures implemented.

3. What canonical arguments exist in favor of a pastor continuing to celebrate the sacraments for his people?

See #2 above. The vocation of a pastor is to minister to the spiritual needs of his people out of the Word of God and the Sacraments. Just as a parent’s obligations to children are not suspended when a crisis occurs, neither is a pastor’s. The Faithful have a right to receive the sacraments, and this places an obligation on a priest to provide them. In danger of death, the obligation to provide is extended to those priests who no longer have ordinary faculties.

4. Can a person be required to receive Holy Communion in the hand during the Coronavirus?

No, not legitimately. This will be disputed, and the person refused Holy Communion will likely not see a decision in their case until after the crisis is past. A greater concern is that such refusal will become normative. If a person is refused Holy Communion on the tongue, that person will be faced with a hard decision to appeal or not. The SJF is ready to assist anyone in making that discernment.

5. What is necessary to confect the Eucharist, as opposed to what may be in the rubrics or a part of custom?

As per any sacrament, to confect the Eucharist requires valid matter, form, and intention. For the Eucharist, valid matter is unleavened bread (in the Latin Church and most Eastern Catholic Churches) and pure grape wine. The form is the words, “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood” said at the appropriate time. The priest must intend to confect the Eucharist. The “breathing” on the species during consecration is a beautiful custom but is not obligatory. Consequently, a priest who wears a mask during the celebration of Mass, or distributes Holy Communion with gloves, or uses other precautions that do not affect the matter, form or intention, do not harm the validity of the Mass. Such precautions should be taken in collaboration with the bishop.

6. Can a priest use soap or hand sanitizer during the purification of his hands during Mass?

The rubrics call for water. Adding lemon juice or even isopropyl alcohol to the water as a disinfectant would not, in my opinion, affect the liceity of the act. Doing so would be far less offensive to the rubrics than wearing gloves to distribute Holy Communion, which itself could be reasonable during this crisis.

7. Can extraordinary ministers be used in lieu of the presiding priest so the priest can remain socially distant and lessen the risk of being exposed to the virus? Can extraordinary ministers self-communicate for the same reasons?

Yes to both. These measures should be taken in collaboration with the bishop, but if such collaboration is not possible, a presiding priest can make those decisions in extraordinary circumstances. None of those examples affect the validity of the Sacrament.

8. Should a priest disobey his bishop if his bishop orders that all public sacraments are to cease?

This is a tricky question for some and easy for others. The answer should not be taken lightly. A priest vows obedience to his bishop, so the question behind the question is, “What is the obedience he vowed?” As a virtue, obedience flows from Justice. It is giving to authority what is due that authority. As Christians, all of us must be obedient to lawful authority. It’s part of what we believe. On the other hand, all authority has limits, and the first limits that must be respected are the limits imposed by Faith and Morals. When that authority acts in a manner contrary to Faith or Morals, we have no obligation to obey. He may have the power to act, but such acts are illegitimate insofar as they violate Divine Law, either Positive or Natural. The right of the Faithful to receive the sacraments is a matter of Divine Law. Whether providing them at a particular time is appropriate or not is something the minister of that sacrament must determine at that time. If a bishop prohibits the public exercise of sacraments during this crisis, and a priest has concerns, the priest should prayerfully consider the circumstances of the prohibition as they relate to him and the people under his care. He must consider the norm of Canon 18 and other applicable laws, what faculties the Church provides, what opportunities for grace exist for the people, and what his options are. He should express his concerns to his bishop, even asking the bishop to reconsider if necessary. If he chooses not to obey the directive, he must be certain in his conscience that he is being obedient to God. Put another way, a priest should always obey a legitimate directive from his bishop.

Pope Benedict XVI knew what he was doing, and knows he remains the Vicar of Jesus Christ

This is a reblog of the article which is originally entitled, An answer to why Benedict resigned the ministerium not the munus

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The question has been raised for more than 7 years and numerous scholars have studied it and attempted to answer. The first was Father Stefano Violi, a canonist at the faculty of Lugano. Then, there was Antonio Socci who wrote numerous books on the matter. Then there was Ann Barnhardt who after her famous declaration of June 2016, that Pope Benedict XVI had made a substantial error, in the summer of 2019 published extensive documentation showing Joseph Ratzinger’s participation in discussions about splitting the Petrine Munus from the Petrine Ministerium in a shared papacy.

But the definitive answer on the question why he renounced the ministerium only and not the munus, I think was just given by Dr. Edmund Mazza in his Essay, cited by Edward Pentin yesterday, and republished in full at the suggestion of Dr. Mazza, here at FromRome.Info today and at the Most Rev. Rene Henry Gracida’s blog,, where Bishop Gracida calls it a “brilliant” exposition.

It is brilliant because its is based only on Pope Benedict’s own words and the norms of Canon law. I will explain why, here, and use the same method.

Dr. Edmund Mazza holds a Ph.D. in Medieval History and was transitory collaborator with me at The Scholasticum, an Italian Non profit for the revival of the study and use of Scholastic method.

The Mind of Pope Benedict

Here I quote the key passage from Dr. Mazza, explaining why ministerium and not munus:

Seewald then observes: “One objection is that the papacy has been secularized by the resignation; that it is no longer a unique office but an office like any other.” Benedict replies:

I had to…consider whether or not functionalism would completely encroach on the papacy … Earlier, bishops were not allowed to resign…a number of bishops…said ‘I am a father and that I’ll stay’, because you can’t simply stop being a father; stopping is a functionalization and secularization, something from the sort of concept of public office that shouldn’t apply to a bishop. To that I must reply: even a father’s role stops. Of course a father does not stop being a father, but he is relieved of concrete responsibility. He remains a father in a deep, inward sense, in a particular relationship which has responsibility, but not with day-to-day tasks as such…If he steps down, he remains in an inner sense within the responsibility he took on, but not in the function…one comes to understand that the office [munus] of the Pope has lost none of its greatness…

Benedict again goes to great lengths to contrast the difference between I. “the office of the Pope” and II. the ministry or “function” associated with it. How to “decode” Benedict? By examining the words he has chosen and the ways he has deployed them before. 

(Blue coloring added for emphasis)

And Dr. Mazza continues, further below, after citing a key passage from a 1978 discourse by Ratzinger on personal responsibility and the Papacy,

This 1977 speech is, in fact, the key to deciphering, not only Benedict’s 2017 interview, but his 2013 resignation speech.

In 2017 Benedict says: “If he [the pope] steps down, he remains in an inner sense within the responsibility” he took on, but not in the “function,” or “day-to-day” tasks.  In 1977 Ratzinger says: “this institution [the papacy] can exist only as a person and in particular and personal responsibility…”  He adds: “He abides in obedience and thus in personal responsibility for Christ; professing the Lord’s death and Resurrection is his whole commission and personal responsibility.” 

For Benedict, “personal responsibility” is the essence of what it means to be pope. To be responsible not as a public official filled with day to day tasks, but metaphysical responsibility for the flock of Christ. In his interview, Benedict says that although he “stepped down,” “HE REMAINS…WITHIN THE RESPONSIBILITY.” Translation: “He remains Pope!”

(Blue coloring added for emphasis)

Far Reaching Implications

Dr. Mazza has ably demonstrated that for Benedict the munus means the personal responsibility which can never be rejected, and the ministerium is the day to take fulfillment of the tasks in  public way.

But he has also demonstrated that for Benedict, the Office of the Papacy is the personal responsibility of a single person. This is clearly seen in a brief quote from the 1977 talk, cited at length by Dr. Mazza in his essay:

The ‘‘we’’ unity of Christians, which God instituted in Christ through the Holy Spirit under the name of Jesus Christ and as a result of his witness, certified by his death and Resurrection, is in turn maintained by personal bearers of responsibility for this unity, and it is once again personified in Peter—in Peter, who receives a new name and is thus lifted up out of what is merely his own, yet precisely in a name, through which demands are made of him as a person with personal responsibility. In his new name, which transcends the historical individual, Peter becomes the institution that goes through history (for the ability to continue and continuance are included in this new appellation), yet in such a way that this institution can exist only as a person and in particular and personal responsibility…

(Blue coloring added for emphasis)

Conclusions of Fact and Interpretation

From this we are forced to conclude, the following:

  1. Pope Benedict XVI knew what he was doing.
  2. Pope Benedict XVI never intended to lay down the personal responsibility or munus
  3. Pope Benedict XVI only intended to leave aside the day to day work of the ministerium.
  4. Pope Benedict XVI therefore is still the pope and he thinks he is the pope.
  5. Pope Benedict XVI considers his act of renouncing the ministerium just as valid as his retention of the munus.
  6. Pope Benedict’s concept of Pope Emeritus signifies, thus, the retention of the munus and dignity in the full sense and of the office in a partial sense.

Conclusions of Law and Right

And from this we can conclude the following according to the norm of law:

Canon 188 – A renunciation made through grave fear, unjustly inflicted, deceit or substantial error, or even with simony, is irritus by the law itself.

Irritus, is a canonical term which means not done in such a way as to fulfill the norm of law. According to Wim Decock, Theologians and Contract Law: the Moral transformation of the Ius commune (1500-1650), p. 216, irritus means “automatically void” (Source)

We can see this from the Code of Canon Law itself, in canon 126:

Canon 126 – Actus positus ex ignorantia aut ex errore, qui versetur circa id quod eius substantiam constituit, aut qui recidit in condicionem sine qua non, irritus est; secus valet, nisi aliud iure caveatur, sed actus ex ignorantia aut ex errore initus locum dare potest actioni rescissoriae ad normam iuris.

Which in English is:

Canon 126 – An act posited out of ignorance or out of an error, which revolves around that which constitutes its substance, or which withdraws from a sine qua non condition, is irritus; otherwise it is valid, unless something else be provided for by law, but an act entered into out of ignorance or out of error, can give place to a rescissory action according to the norm of law.

Rescissory means revoking or rescinding. The final clause here means an act done erroneously can be repaired if the law allows for it by a subsequent act. There is no such provision in law for papal renunciations, they have to be clear in themselves or they have to be redone (source). The sine non qua condition here is found in canon 332 §2:

If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his munus, …..

This is the sine non qua condition. It is a condition because it begins with If, it is sine non qua, because it specifies the form and matter of the juridical act as a renunciation (form) of munus (matter). The form and matter together make the essence of a thing. That essence of a juridical act when posited cause the substance of the thing. Essence is the sine qua non of each thing, because without it a thing is not what it is. An error therefore about the matter to be renounced is thus a substantial error in the resulting act.

And hence, the kind of renunciation posited by Pope Benedict is automatically void, null and of no effect, because it violates the Divine Constitution of the Church, which requires that one and only one person hold both the papal dignity, office and munus. There can be no sharing of the office while there is a retention of the munus and dignity.

This argument is based solely on the words of Pope Benedict XVI and the words of canon law. It has, therefore, the highest authority and probability.

I challenge any Cardinal to refute this argument! — And if they cannot, then if they do not return in allegiance to Pope Benedict XVI, they are ipso facto excommunicated by canon 1364 for the delict of schism from the Roman Pontiff. All of them, each of them. And thus have no right to elect his successor.

I put you all on notice!

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Who are in schism from Pope Benedict XVI?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There is no better day than the 15th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s acceptance of the Petrine Munus, than to address the most important question regarding who is and who is not in schism from him. For on that day, Sunday, April 19, 2020, the whole Church will celebrate the anniversary of Pope Benedict’s XVI election and acceptance of the Office of Saint Peter.

Notice I said “the whole Church”.

You might ask me, “But how can that be, if so few still recognize him as the Pope?”

This question merits an answer, especially on such a solemn day.

First of all, one must understand that this question can be answered in several ways. Because just as every creature is composed of form and matter, so every creature can be considered formally or materially. Here I use “matter”  not in the sense used by Saint Thomas Aquinas, who often restricted matter to the physical particulate in creatures creatures, but in the sense of Saint Bonaventure who holds it to be mere potentiality to be.

So the Catholic Church, obviously, being a creature of God, that is created by Jesus Christ, has a form and matter.  What She is, is Her form. And of what She is, is Her matter.

What is the Catholic Church

The form of the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, the Assembly of the Faithful, the Communion of the Saints.

In this definition, “Mystical Body of Christ” refers to Her relationship to Jesus Christ, inasmuch as She is inseparable from Him on account of Her members being baptized into Him and living by His grace, His mediation, and His Headship or governance.

However, in this definition, “Assembly of the Faithful” refers to the created persons who comprise or make up the Church. The Church is constituted materially, that is, in Her constitutive members by the baptized believers. This is a double condition.

First you have to believe and then you also have to be baptized with the Sacrament. If you simply believe, but are not baptized yet, you are associated with the Church inasmuch as you pose no obstacle to union with Her and seek Baptism, but otherwise you are not even yet a believer, since true Christian Faith requires union with the Catholic Church and water Baptism.

In addition, to be a believer, you have to assent by a supernatural act of mind to all that Jesus Christ teaches in Scripture, Tradition, and in the infallible magisterium of the Church.  If you assent to 99.999999999% but reject the rest, you are not a believer, though you may be baptized.

Finally, you consciously have to accept that Christ established Saint Peter and His successors as the bond of unity in the Church.

Moreover, in the definition of the Church as the “Communion of Saints”, “Saints” refers strictly to the Saints in Heaven, but generally, to all who are baptized into Christ here on Earth, who believe the whole faith, are united to the Roman Pontiff in ecclesiastical communion and who are in the state of grace. If you are all these things, but are in mortal sin, then you do not share this communion, because you are dead to Christ, to grace and to the Holy Spirit. You need to go to confession and repent to be revived.

Of what is the Church composed

As we can see from the definition of what the Church is, there are Three things which are required for someone to be a member of the Catholic Church: Faith, sacramental Baptism, communion with the Roman Pontiff.  You have to have at some point in your life consciously accepted all three and never rejected them. This applies even to Baptism, if you received baptism as a babe, you have to accept it now and not reject it.

Communion with the Roman Pontiff

It follows, then, that being in communion with the true Pope is a necessity to be reckoned by God as a member of His Mystical Body, the Catholic Church.

If you reject the concept of the Papacy, the authority of all the popes, etc., or the whole concept that Christ gave to Saint Peter a special office which passes down to his successors, then you cannot be in communion with the Roman Pontiff, because you do not regard him to be what the Church teaches he is.

However, if you accept the teaching of the Church about the Roman Pontiff and Saint Peter’s Office, then it is sufficient that you accept the Roman Pontiff and obey him in all things just and right, as the Church teaches, to be in communion with the Pope.

Being in communion with the Pope

However, since both God and the Church judge things by truth and according to the whole truth, one can speak of a person being in communion with the pope in several ways: according to faith, according to intention, according to right knowledge, according to action.

According to faith, every Catholic is in communion with the pope by simply accepting the teaching of the Church on the papacy and the papal prerogatives.

According to intention, every Catholic who intends to be in communion with the true pope is in communion with the true pope, because intention does not fail on account of ignorance or error.  A Catholic missionary in the remotest part of the world, who did not know that one pope died and another was elected, but kept offering mass in communion with the dead pope, was never according to intention not in communion with the true pope. He was just ignorant of the news.

Likewise, if someone is fooled into thinking one man is the true pope, who is not the true pope, because of the lies or errors spread by others, then his intention to be in communion with the true pope remains as to its spiritual value in the sight of God and His Church, even if the error will lead him in his actions and ecclesiastically to be outside of communion with the true pope.

One is in communion with the pope by right knowledge, when the one whom he recognizes as the true pope is according to canon law the true pope.

And finally, one is in communion with the pope by action, when one has both intention, right knowledge and performs actions of obedience or service to the true Pope in all that is legitimate and right and just, even if this requires one to correct the pope when he is in error.

Who, then, is in communion with Pope Benedict XVI?

Now we can answer the question, which was first moved above.

If we speak of communion with Pope Benedict XVI in the true sense, according to which one merits grace and according to which God judges the matter, only those are in communion with Pope Benedict XVI, who recognize that he is still the true and only pope according to the norm of law. It does not matter if they do so because they think his renunciation was invalid or ineffective on account of one thing or the other, because whether they do on account of a true argument or evidence or on account of faulty knowledge, the result is the same, they remain in communion with the true pope.

All others are in formal schism with Pope Benedict XVI. But not all others are guilty of the sin or of the canonical crime of schism.

However, in a moral sense, that is, judging by intentions, all those who would be in communion with him if they knew the truth, but who presently do not regard him as the Pope because of accepting the fake news put out in Feb. 2013, remain in communion with him. But since this communion is not formal, only moral, they do not enjoy the full merit of communion with him. But how much merit they do enjoy is known to God alone. Nevertheless, because of their error, they might very well be committing grave mortal sins of disrespect for him or disobedience to him or falling into other grave errors or sins on account of following Bergoglio as the pope, when Bergoglio is in fact, that is, by law, an anti-pope. And for these reasons, even one who is only morally in communion with Pope Benedict — because if he had true knowledge would recognize him as the pope — loses the grace of God and is dragged down to perdition because of such sins and de facto separation.

Obviously, those who reject the evidence that Pope Benedict XVI is the true pope are not in communion with him, though if this rejection is merely light and based on invincible ignorance, they might only demerit a little by it. For them it is not yet a mortal sin.

But when it is based on full knowledge, such as that which the Cardinals must certainly have, especially if they hold doctorates in Canon Law and have examined the evidence, then their rejection is a mortal sin of schism and totally separates them from the Church, and thus in virtue of canon 1364 these are excommunicated ipso facto latae sententiae for the crime of schism. See here for a complete list of other canonical crimes of which they might be guilty.  The first effect of this excommunication is that they lose all office in the Church, including the right to elect the Roman Pontiff and/or govern a diocese or hold any position of authority in the Roman Curia or at the Vatican.

Whether those in schism confect valid sacraments?

The confection of the Sacraments refers to the ability of a validly ordained priest or validly consecrated Bishop to validly confer the Sacraments. When a sacrament is validly conferred it truly did exist and was truly given. Sacramental validity refers to the Sacrament being a true Sacrament. Because when true, the Christ makes it powerful.

The teaching of the Church has always been that Catholic Bishops and Priests, as well as schismatic clergy, can validly confer  all the Sacraments, except the Sacrament of Penance, that is, Confession. This last Sacrament normally requires that the one hearing confessions is in communion with the true Pope, from whom flows the power to forgive sins. This communion has to be formal and conscious.

But if a schismatic priest or Bishop is also a pertinacious heretic in any matter whatsoever, then they might not be able to validly confer a sacrament IF their heresy denies the efficacy of the Sacrament which they are attempting to confer.  Thus if a priest pertinaciously denies that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus, there is grave doubt that the Eucharist which he consecrates becomes Jesus Christ’s Body and Blood. Otherwise, as with all clergy, so long as the priest or Bishop does what the Church prescribes, the Sacrament is valid.

But if the clergy are not formally in communion with the true Pope, then the Sacraments they confer obviously do not restore one to communion with the true pope. Nor are they as efficacious in those who are schismatics, because the sin of schism or their separation from the true pope obstructs the power Christ gave to the Sacrament.

For this reason, we must understand that schism alone, whether the sin or the canonical crime, does not make a Sacrament invalid (excepting Confession), but it does reduce their efficacy in schismatics.  The Mass too, as a prayer of impetration — that is as a prayer and sacrifice which obtains grace and mercy from God — is not as efficacious when offered by Schismatic clergy, because their sin makes their offering of the true Sacrifice displeasing to the Divine Majesty. And in this sense you can say their masses are less efficacious. You could also say they are invalid, but that is improperly said.

According to Saint Alphonsus, however, a Catholic in communion with the true pope can receive the Sacraments from schismatics who are not heretics, under certain conditions: see here for his teaching. This applies to even the Sacrament of Confession, which in virtue of the fact that the penitent is in communion with the true pope and has grave need (i.e. is in mortal sin), can be validly conferred on him if his confession is otherwise capable of validly receiving absolution). (And it is not necessary to admit in confession that Benedict XVI is the true pope).

This is important to understand, because on Sunday, Catholics have the duty to attend Mass. But this duty applies only when there is a Catholic priest or Bishop in communion with the true Pope offering Mass. If he, rather, is a schismatic in fact, or by intention or by desire, his mass cannot be reckoned as Catholic and thus attending it does not fulfill the Sunday obligation. And there is no moral obligation to attend such masses.

However, if he is not a heretic and is simply in error about who is the true Pope, a Catholic who is not in error about who is a true Pope can attend and receive Communion, so long as scandal is not given, that is, so long as by doing so one does not lead others into thinking that communion with the true pope is not important. But again, there is no moral obligation to attend these masses, because they are objectively offered in schism from Pope Benedict XVI.

Finally, if a priest or Bishop refuses communion to Catholics who publicly recognize the true pope as the true pope, one is obliged to presume that such a priest or Bishop is a formal schismatic and guilty of the canonical crime of schism, and one should avoid him as an excommunicate. But if he is willing to give the Sacraments to those who publicly recognize Pope Benedict XVI as the true pope, then he is probably not a formal schismatic and may be signalling that he recognizes that Pope Benedict XVI may indeed be the true pope.

Can a pope be in schism with himself?

A pope cannot be in schism with himself, obviously, because the notion of being in communion with the pope does not apply to the pope, it only applies to everyone else on earth. The Saints and Angels of Heaven, and God, obviously are always in communion with him, even if no one else on earth was, and even if he does not know he is the true pope.

Let us pray for Pope Benedict XVI to return to his duties, and let us work to convince all others to remain or return to communion with him.

For as Pope Boniface VIII taught, rejection of the true Pope merits eternal damnation.

POSTSCRIPT: Here are the names of the Clergy in communion with Pope Benedict XVI. If you know others, please leave their names in the comments below. IF YOU ARE A BISHOP, PRIEST or DEACON WHO IS IN COMMUNION WITH POPE BENEDICT, PLEASE ADD YOUR NAME TO THIS LIST!

Clergy in communion with Pope Benedict XVI

Jesus Christ and all the popes, bishops, priests, deacons, those in minor Orders, in Heaven

All the popes, bishops, priests, deacons and all those in minor orders in Purgatory

Archbishop Jan Paul Lenga, Emeritus of Karaganga, but residing now in Poland
Bishop René Henry Gracida, Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas, USA

Several Italian Bishops, who are not yet publicly identified

Father Walter Covens, Martinique, France
Father Francesco d’Erasmo, Tarquinia, Italy
Father Alessandro Minutella, Palermo, Sicily
Father Enrico Roncaglia, Veneto, Italy

Several priests at Rome, not yet publicly identified

Many priests in all the world, who are not yet courageous enough to publicly admit it OR who are not known to us yet.

Catholic organizations in communion with Pope Benedict XVI

Il Piccolo Nazareth: a movement lead by Don Minutella of Palermo
Veri Catholici: an association opposing Kasperite heretics
Ordo Militaris Catholicus: an association dedicated to the defense of Catholics

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Pope Benedict’s Renunciation: The Documentary — Part 6

What is the canonical value
of what Pope Benedict XVI did on Feb. 11, 2013?

The canonical judgement required by the norms of the 1983 Code of Canon Law


FromRome.Info Video Channel on Youtube. — Thank you!

This video should be ready for viewing at about 3:00 PM, Rome time.

Pope Benedict’s Renunciation: A Documentary Series

From Rome Info Video will be producing a multi part series on Pope Benedict XVI’s Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013: What happened? The Facts. The Laws. The Consequences.

Just go to and look for videos which begin with this image. Br. Bugnolo will start producing them during the Triduum. The individual videos will also be published at FromRome.Info. Anyone can embed them on their own blog, if they wish.

Screenshot_2020-04-09 Feb 11, 2013

In this series, Br. Bugnolo will explain in detail and from the start the events of that day, what Pope Benedict XVI actually said. What it meant, and answer questions from the public.

You can post your question here, in the comment boxes.

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Two grave errors of Canon Peters in the Corona Panic

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The Big Lie becomes the premise which the small minded will never question, and what his mind consequently thinks or judges on that basis will be utterly corrupted.

A case in point is Canon Peter’s opinions on Sacraments during the Corona Panic, as expressed in his post entitled, Canonical deep breath time. Canon Peter’s accepts all 3 Big Lies which I recently listed: that the Church in conforming Her pastoral practice to modern times does not risk damaging the traditio fidei, that Pope Benedict in renouncing the ministerium renounced the office of the  papacy, and that the Coronavirus is 340 times more deadly than the common cold.

So consequently, do not expect Canon Peters to be any more accurate about canonical or sacramental questions than a man with 1/340th of the IQ of a normal person, or 1/340th of the eyesight of a normal person, or 1/340th of the memory of a normal person. We should not compare persons to cellphones, but no one would want to use a cellphone with 1/340th capacity.

I bluster in words, of course. Because the problem is much worse than a 340x reduction.

Because when you accept any false premise, all your conclusions are 100% false.

So now I will address Canon Peter’s false conclusions and show what the truth is:

First Canon Peters says:

1. Do not assume that some wrong, even stupid, policies being announced by various levels of Church government are necessarily canonically illegal policies. Christ, who foresaw COVID19, nevertheless gave considerable authority to his Church, specifically to his bishops and popes, to formulate how the Church would carry on his mission in these days. People should be very wary of concluding that a given a local Church policy is canonically illegal and can therefore simply be disregarded.

Here is your classical positivist. Throw the book of the Gospels in the trash, shut up, and presume like a good Catholic under the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler than your local Fuhrer is probably acting lawfully. Don’t even dare think that other considerations make that presumption invalid!  — But that is not Catholicism. That is clericalism.

Catholicism is this: the Faith trumps obedience to a visible superior, so when a Bishop dumps the Gospel in the trashcan and acts contrary to the Gospel, the presumption that he is acting legally can be dumped likewise in the trashcan!

Next Canon Peters writes:

Consider, e.g., that for most of Church history the institution of “territorial interdict”, whereby Church authority could shut down access to sacraments for the innocent as well as the guilty in whole countries, was practiced. See most recently 1917 CIC 2268-2277. There were, of course, efforts over the centuries to mitigate the impact of territorial interdicts on the innocent but, in its heyday, though criticized on prudential grounds, interdicts were not attacked as illegal in themselves nor as somehow outside of the Church’s authority to implement. Today, what amounts to territorial interdicts are being imposed (rightly or wrongly, in terms of medical advice) as a way to protect the innocent. Even if such policies are wrong-headed (as some seem to me) that does not necessarily mean they are canonically illegal.

What Canon Peters fails to mention, is that like every canonical penalty, interdicts have to be motivated by some injustice.  That a prince rebels against the Church did merit an interdict against his principality! But that the faithful in what they perceive to be a life-and-death situation want to receive the Sacraments is not an injustice! Nay, it is their divine right! When any penalty is not motivated by injustice, then it is invalidly imposed per se and ipso iure. So there is no question at all that it is legal.

Canon Peter also fails to explain to you, quite conveniently, that an interdict loosed you form all bonds of obedience to your Prince so that you could and should disobey him! But what the Bishops are doing is punishing an entire territory for the fault of no one, and demanding you continue to obey your unjust leaders! This is the complete opposite moral and legal case!

Thus it is a complete and diabolical shell game, Canon Peter’s is playing here. And that is also clericalism of the most depraved kind: to justify the denial of sacraments to 100s of millions of Catholics!

Then Canon Peter’s goes off the deep end, saying:

2. The use of communication devices (e.g., cell-phones, video devices) in sacramental Confession has been an interest of mine for some time and I published a peer-reviewed series of three articles exploring the validity and liceity of such practices.* While I far prefer such matters to be debated in the calm of academe some points apparently need to be made now. …

I won’t quote the theological dribble which follows under n. 2. But suffice it to say that Canon Peters does not know the first thing about Sacramental theology, which requires that for a Sacrament to be valid that it be a sign which is communicated. And here ”’communicated” is the Latin word for shared among persons in the presence of one another. The notion of communication via wires and radio waves etc., that is remotely, is an analogy, it is not the reality of communion. The voice you hear on the TV or cellphone is NOT the voice of a human being, it is the semblance of the voice created by merely inanimate instruments which cannot in the sacramental sense produce an act of personal communion. Remote communication is only the sharing of information, it cannot be or produce the real communion of persons. We are men, after all, not Angels, communion for human beings requires physical proximity of human bodies.

For that reason, no Sacrament can be valid which is done through phones or radios or tv. It is ontologically impossible, just as it is ontologically impossible that two persons by means of such things be physically proximate to commune in the sharing of anything.

In conclusion…

But since the truth is that Pope Benedict XVI has not ordered any Bishop to suspend the Sacraments or close the Churches, and since Coronavirus is not even as deadly as the winter flu to healthy persons, there is absolutely no reason for Canon Peters to try to start figuring out how to solve the problems which result from accept the Big Lies opposed to those 2 truths.

Here we have the classic example of the Pharisee. Straining gnats but swallowing camels. That is, straining canonical problems but ignoring the Big Truths that Benedict is still the pope and that all medical statistics show the Wuhan virus is not a plague.

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