Category Archives: Ecclesiology

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 https://www.youtube.com/FromRomeInfoVideo 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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How much more until you admit that we are in the Great Apostasy?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

How many more heresies, blasphemies, sacrileges, idolatries and profanations have to be uttered or committed at the Vatican?

How many more churches have to be shuttered?

How many more Bishops have to order their priests to stop being priests?

How many more Catholics have to be denied the sacraments by State and Church?

How many more absurd excuses do you need to hear from your Bishop or Pastor about how this is all for your good?

How many more Catholics need to tell you a winter flue is worse than going to Hell because you cannot get to Confession?

How many more priests have to totally and utterly spurn you spiritual welfare?

How much more of this, until you admit we are in the Great Apostasy?

The Great Apostasy according to the fathers of the Church is the great falling away which Saint John the Apostle prophesied in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelations, when he saw the dragon with its tail sweep a third of the stars from heaven and cast them down to the earth. The Fathers of the Church say that those stars represent the clergy. And their being swept out of the heavens is the biblical way of saying they will abandon their sacred ministry.

Oh, and for all those Catholics out there, who think Pope Benedict XVI is no longer the pope, because they bought into the Big Lie that a renunciation of ministry is the same thing as a renunciation of office, please tell me now, if you pope and your bishops and your priests have or have not renounced their offices, in renouncing their ministry to you?

I would love to hear the discombobulated reasons to explain that away….

Oh, and since it its the tail OF the dragon who does this, tell me who is the tail and who is the dragon?

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教皇ベネディクト16世は今でも教皇です。

This is the famous video, by Brian Murphy, Is Benedict Still the Pope?, now with subtitled in Japanese. Which explains to the Japanese people, what Our Lady of Akita meant when she said there would be a war inside the Church, “cardinal against cardinal” and not “cardinal against the pope”, because Bergoglio is still a cardinal and never was the pope.

A Refutation of Bishop Schneider’s Demagoguery

By Alexis Bugnolo

A lot of Catholics have asked me to refute Bishop Athanasius’ Schneider in detail. I have written a partial refutation, but his position is so absurd I have refrained, but here is a sound refutation on the more principal points:

However, I will point out that there is in the Church no such thing as the Byzantine Catholic Patriarch. The group which produced this has a checkered history, canonically, but at least doctrinally, in this refutation of Mons. Schneider, they take a Catholic position. Synods must be called in every nation to condemn Bergoglio.

The only errors I see in this video are:

First, that the authors of this video hold that if canon law is used to support heresy and apostasy, canon law is invalid. The correct Catholic position is, rather, that when canon law is used to support heresy and apostasy, it is the use which is to be condemned and the interpretation which is to be corrected by canon 17.

Second that they assert that the worship of an idol is a heresy or manifestation of heresy. But it is rather a sin of apostasy, is not directly a sin of heresy, because heresy is the denial of a truth which is revealed by God, but the adoration of an idol is the denial of the entire Deposit of the Faith. Adoration of an idol might include heresy, but it is much more than heresy.

Third, they avoid entirely that Pope Benedict XVI is the true pope. They do this because in certain matters they themselves have usurped ecclesiastical offices and powers, such as, for example, establishing a Byzantine Patriarchate, without any authority from God or Pope Benedict XVI.

Finally,  I would like to point out, for the sake of public record, that back in 2015 I was greatly inspired by the sound and heroic statements of Bishop Schneider against the errors being promoted by Bergoglio. It truly saddens me that he has abandoned the Catholic Faith and Canon Law to insist that Bergoglio is still the pope, despite all his public sins, his pertinacious heresy, his apostasy and his schism mongering. In this he has done a very wicked thing, and I think if he persists in his false position, that he must be reckoned by all Catholics a heretic himself, for denying the constant teaching of the Church that heretics and apostates and schismatics lose office immediately, as canon 1364 states.

 

DOWNLOAD: Petition to US Bishops to demand restoration of Sacraments

FromRome.Info publishes this timely and urgent Letter of Petition to the Catholic Bishops of the USA, demanding the restoration of the Sacraments to the Faithful. At the bottom of this page, you will find this letter in PDF format, which you can download and print out and make copies of to distribute in your area. Catholics in other parts of the world are asked to take similar immediate actions.

by Giuseppe Pellegrino

Your Eminences and Excellencies, Our Bishops,

We are the Catholic faithful. We love you, and we are praying for you during this difficult and momentous time for our nation and the world.

We appreciate your desire to follow all health and safety precautions and cooperate with legitimate government directives during this national emergency.

However, we are dismayed at the announcement in recent days that our ordinary access to the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments has been cut off. This response leaves us feeling abandoned and confused. The Tradition of the Church clearly teaches that the Sacraments and sacramentals of the Church impart not only spiritual protection but also bodily health to the faithful. In this time of pandemic we need the Body and Blood of Christ more than ever as “a lasting remedy for body and soul” (Pastoral Care of the Sick, p. 78). 

The suspension of all public Masses is a denial of the canonical right of the faithful to receive the Sacraments. It is also a violation of our civil First Amendment right to exercise our religion and to peaceably assemble. This has happened before in other historical persecutions of the Church. At the time of Emperor Diocletian, like our own time, “it was forbidden to hold the sacred rites and the most holy assemblies.” At that time a family was arrested in the city of Abitina, and when they were interrogated before the proconsul, Saturninus the priest replied, “We cannot live without the Lord’s Supper.”

Dear bishops, we want to work with you and we want to support you. But we also need you to hear us: “We cannot live without the Lord’s supper.” We appreciate your concern for our bodily health, but we need you to provide for the salvation of our souls now more than ever. We beg you to find creative and courageous ways to grant us our rightful access to the Sacrifice of the Mass and Holy Communion. This is an opportunity for you to restore our trust in you and our confidence in your leadership. Please do not fail in your duty to direct our priests to feed us with the Bread of Life, even at the risk of persecution and condemnation.

In the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Signed, The Catholic Faithful:

Please Sign and Print your Name, Town and Parish/Chapel

 

Download the PDF

 

 

 

Canon 41 gives every Catholic the right to declare Bergoglio an Anti-pope

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Today, Marcy, 13, 2020, is the 7th anniversary of the usurpation of the Papacy by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the anti-pope.

And every Catholic has the right to say, what I just said. He also has the duty. But first, let me discuss the right.

Don’t fall for the lie pandered to the gullable, that the laity do not in this case have the right to judge who is and who is not the true pope.

In the case of Bergoglio, Canon Law actually refutes such a lie.

This is because, Pope Benedict XVI never resigned the papacy. He never resigned, because to renounce the papal office, in Canon Law, you have to renounce the munus of the Roman Pontiff.  But Pope Benedict XVI only renounced the ministerium which had been entrusted to him by the Cardinals, the day he was elected as Roman Pontiff.

As I explained in my previous article for the 7th Anniversary, that means Pope Benedict XVI is still the pope.

But that also means that YOU, each of you, whomsoever you are, big or small, important or unknown, practicing or not practicing, clergy or lay, religious or consecrated, married or single, employed or unemployed, whether you attend the mass in the local language or in Latin, ALL of you have the right to say that Benedict XVI is still the pope.

I do not say this, on the basis of the fact that Benedict XVI did not renounce according to the norm of Canon 332 §2, but on the basis of Canon 41.

Canon 41 Saves the Church in the present hour

This is because, by renouncing the ministerium instead of the munus, Pope Benedict XVI posited an administrative act, not a juridical act.

In canon law, a juridical act is the act of someone with jurisdiction which makes a change in law or establishes a law or issues a sentence or penalty.  Juridical acts are described in the Code of Canon Law in canons 125 ff..

But since Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministry, which is not any sort of juridical act mentioned in the Code of Canon Law, and because his renunciation regards the ministry not the papal office, his act falls in the category of an administrative act.  Administrative, means anything and all which regards ministry.

As an administrative act, then, each of us Catholics has the duty and right when receiving it, to judge if it be valid, and if so, to refuse it. This is enshrined in Canon 41 which reads:

Can. 41 – Exsecutor actus administrativi cui committitur merum exsecutionis ministerium, exsecutionem huius actus denegare non potest, nisi manifesto appareat eundem actum esse nullum aut alia ex gravi causa sustineri non posse aut condiciones in ipso actu administrativo appositas non esse adimpletas; si tamen actus administrativi exsecutio adiunctorum personae aut loci ratione videatur inopportuna, exsecutor exsecutionem intermittat; quibus in casibus statim certiorem faciat auctoritatem quae actum edidit.

Which in English means:

Canon 41 – The executor of an administrative act to whom there is committed the mere ministry of execution, cannot deny the execution of the act, UNLESS it appears from something manifest that the act itself is NULL or cannot be sustained on account of another grave cause or that the conditions laid forth in the administrative act itself have not be fulfilled; however, if the execution of the administrative act seems inopportune by reason of the persons or place adjoined, the executor may omit the execution; in which cases let him bring the matter to the attention of the one who issued the act.

As subjects of the Roman Pontiff, his decision to resign or not is a decision which we cannot judge according to its existence. We must accept that. But Canon 41 grants us the right and authority to judge whether a renunciation of ministry is an administrative act which is to be executed by us.

A renunciation of ministry is simply the decision of a superior to omit the fulfillment of his duties. It can occur because he is sick, wants to take a vacation, is busy with family matters, etc.. Normally, a Bishop does not issue a statement about such matters. But it does not change the nature of the act, whether he do so or not.

However, such a renunciation does not cause him to lose his office as our superior. Because the fulfillment of duties is one thing, the office of authority is another.

The act of Pope Benedict in renouncing ministerium instead of munus, is an act which is no where found in Canon Law. Therefore it is an actus nullus. That is, it is not a a canonical act. Therefore, each of us is obliged not to act on it. We are also obliged to bring to Pope Benedict’s attention that the act is null.

So they next time they tell you to shut up or stop judging, that you are a sedevacanists, etc. etc. etc., reply, no, I am merely using Canon 41 as is my right and duty, to respond to Pope Benedict XVI’s administrative act in a reasonable and just way.

Finally, you can add that Archbishop Lenga and Bishop Gracida, both Catholic Bishops in good standing, hold the same opinion as yourself.

Oh, and since Pope Benedict XVI still pope, then it follows necessarily that Bergoglio is an Anti-Pope. And you can declare the same thing, in virtue of the consequences of Canon 41.

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What does it mean, “To be loyal to the Pope?”, if we do not care who is the pope?

English translation of Italian Original

Che vuole dire, “Essere leale al Papa”,
se non ci sentiamo obbligati a conscere chi è il vero papa?

ChiesaRomana.Info

What does it mean, to be loyal to the Pope,
if we do not consider ourselves obligated
to know who is the true pope?

It is already clear that the whims of politicians has substituted any desire for the truth, and that the Dictatorship of Relativism has exalted itself unto the heavens. Hence, it is necessary duty that we Roman Catholics distinguish now between falsehood and truth.

The criterion of truth differs according to different subjects. In a vote, political truth consists in the final count of the votes. In the empirical sciences, scientific truth consists in what can be observed and demonstrated by repetitive experimentation. In matters of faith, the truth is the teaching which God has revealed. But in questions of who is and who is not the true pope, the truth consists in Canon Law, because the law of the Church regulates whose claim to the papacy is valid and legitimate, and whose is not.

As everyone knows, it is neither whim nor popularity nor a poll which confirms that a man is the Pope. A man becomes pope solely when he is elected in a Conclave. But to be more precise: a man becomes the pope when HE ACCEPTS his canonical election in a legitimate conclave. And a legitimate conclave is a Conclave which observes the papal law of Pope John Paul II, Universi dominici gregis, on the convening of conclaves during a vacancy (sede vacante) of the Apostolic See (see the Latin or English text at Vatican.va).

Obviously, therefore, even if all the Cardinals say the Pope is a man, who was not elected in a conclave which observed the norms of that papal law, he is NOT the pope, because even the Cardinals are obliged to observe the Canon Law of the Catholic Church! In fact, canon 359 says expressly that the Cardinals have no decision making power when the Apostolic See is vacant.

Therefore, to know who is the true pope, it is not sufficient to recognize him who has been elected in Conclave. Every Catholic also has the duty to verify if there was a sede vacante. This, however, is not a problem when a Pope dies, because there is a corpse.

But, how about when a Pope renounces?  There a problem can arise. In fact, Pope John Paul II expressly foresaw the possibility of a invalid renunciation in paragraph 3 of his law on Conclaves, Universi dominici gregis, and indirectly in paragraph, n. 37

Pope John Paul II also foresaw the possibility of an invalid renunciation in the Code of Canon Law which he promulgated in 1983, because in Canon 332 §2, it speaks in these terms regarding a Papal renunciation:

Canon 332 §2 — Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validiatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero a quopiam acceptetur.

Which in English means:

Canon 332 §2 — If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounces his munus, for validity there is required that the renunciation be freely made and be duly manifested, but not that it be accepted by anyone whomsoever.

In many translations of this canon, the Latin word munus (which is employed in the dative form, muneri) is translated as office, in accord with the terms of canon 145 §1, which defines every ecclesiastical office (officium) as a munus. This way of translating munus, however, is not faithful, because an ecclesiastical office per se is merely an ecclesiastical dignity. But the munus of the Successor of Saint Peter is a supernatural dignity, an evangelical duty, and a charge imposed by Jesus Himself, by reason of which the law of the Church reckons it as an ecclesiastical office according to the norm of law.

At this point, we need to recognize that in every discussion of canon law, the Latin text of an act is normally the only text which has juridical authority. On this account, Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013, in Consistory with the Cardinals, expressed himself in the Latin tongue, saying in the first person singular (as Joseph Ratzinger) the following:

Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso ​renuntiare ita ut  a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.

A Papal Renunciation is a special kind of juridical act

A papal renunciation of munus is a special kind of juridical act.  As Mons. Arrieta, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, in his meeting with Br. Alexis Bugnolo, on December 11, 2019, affirmed, a papal renunciation is not subject to interpretation by anyone, that is, no one in the Church has the legal right to interpret it. Not even the Pope. Because if the renunciation was valid, then he is no longer the pope. And if it was not valid, his interpretation cannot make it valid. “It has to be certain in itself”, as Mons. Arrieta affirmed.

Hence, as can be seen from the official Latin text of the renunciation, quoted above, Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministerium (ministery). Hence, it is not legitimate for anyone to say that he renounced anything else. In particular, it is not permitted that anyone say that he renounced his munus or ecclesiastical office, for such an affirmation would be an interpretation which substitutes officio (office) or muneri (munus) where Pope Benedict XVI said ministerio (ministry).

Hence, Pope Benedict XVI is still the Pope. There never was a sede vacante.

The Haste and Imprudence of the Cardinals on Feb. 11, 2013 was historic and extraordinary

According to Mons. Arrieta, there never was, as far as he knows, any meeting of expert canonists to examine the Declaratio of Pope Benedict XVI, before Father Lombardi gave the go-ahead to Giovanna Chirri, an ANSA pool report, to tweet out to the world that Pope Benedict had resigned from the papacy.

Obviously, then, no one in the Church is obligated to follow Father Lombardi or Mrs. Giovanna Chirri or even the Cardinals in their error. Rather, we are obliged by the Divine and Catholic Faith to give our loyalty still to Pope Benedict XVI, as the Pope.

Pope John Paul II took precautions against errors of this kind in his Code of Canon Law of 1983, because in that Code, he as the supreme legislator of the Church, changed the canon which regarded the renunciation of the Roman Pontiff. He did this because, for more than 20 years, theologians had put in discussion the possibility of separating the papal government from the papal office, by means of a sharing of the papal dignity among two or more persons, one charged with the papal munus, and the other with the papal ministerium. He put a stop to any such future possibility by adding the words muneri suo as the object of the verb “renuntiare” (to renounce) — the Code of Canon Law of 1917 has no object to the verb.  Moreover, he impeded the possibility of renouncing by renouncing anything else, through canon 188, which declares every renunciation irritus — invalid or never to have existed — which contains a substantial error as regards what is to be renounced.

Thus, even if Pope Benedict XVI wanted to renounce only the ministry but not the munus, he could not do it. Moreover, Mons. Arrieta affirmed — likewise in his meeting with Br. Bugnolo — that such a renunciation, so as to share the papal dignity with two persons, would be contrary to the Divine law itself.

A Divine obligation for all

Everyone in the Church is obliged to follow the true pope. A man, elected in a Conclave which was convened during the lifetime of a canonically elected pope, is obviously not the pope!  Canon 359 formally forbids the Cardinals to elect another pope during the lifetime of the reigning Pope. And the reigning Pope remains pope until he either dies or renounces in accord with the terms of Canon 332.

If the Clergy has hastily followed the opinion of a journalist or Vatican spokesman who were not qualified in Canon Law, their error obliges no one. If the Cardinals, in haste and without due discretion, presumed the renunciation of ministerium was a renunciation of the papacy, their error obliges no one.  Even if Pope Benedict XVI, with his advanced age, though that he could renounce the power and office of the papacy, without renouncing or even intending to renounce the munus, because he wanted to retain the papal dignity afterwards, this error obliges no one. It obliges no one, because not even Pope Benedict XVI has a power or authority which extends over the papal office.  Only the Creator of that office, Jesus Christ, has that power. Hence, not even the intent expressed in the act (that of vacating the Apostolic Throne) can repair the error of not renouncing the petrine munus.

What are we to do now?

We must insist with our sacred pastors that they stop naming the man, who never received the petrine munus, as  pope in the Canon of the Mass, and return to naming Pope Benedict. Each priest needs to employ canon 41, which gives him the authority to read the text of the Renunciation and to declare it null.

We need to do everything we can to convince the Cardinals to recognize their error and to return their loyalty to Pope Benedict XVI. Finally, we need to insist that the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenas Aires returns home to Argentina.

This is a solemn duty for every Catholic. We can not do otherwise, if we want to attain Heaven, because to obey an Anti-pope is the worst sin of disobedience possible in the Church on Earth.

Note, in this English translation, some of the terms and phrases were rendered according to the custom of English, rather than literally, and some Italian expressions which are clear in the Italian context, were expanded or made more precise, for clarity in English.

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A 7th Anniversary of shame!

March 13, 2020

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Today is the seventh anniversary of a day that will live in infamy.

A day of wickedness and flippancy.

A day wherein the Cardinals of the Catholic Church showed their utter contempt for:

  1. Pope Benedict XVI
  2. The Catholic Faith in the Papacy
  3. The Canons of the Catholic Church
  4. The Papal Law on Conclaves
  5. Common sense

Let me explain why I say this, point by point, in reverse order.

The Cardinals betrayed common sense 7 years ago today

It is obvious by now, that if anyone on the planet ,who had common sense, sat down and talked to Bergoglio for 15 minutes, he would realize that he is not a fit candidate to be Roman Pontiff.

But the College of Cardinals had been housed together with him for two weeks prior to March 13, 2013.

Therefore, the last 7 years proves that God certainly did not approve of their judgement in selecting such a man. Indeed, it was an epic failure of the College of Cardinals, as I wrote, in 2015.

The Cardinals betrayed John Paul II’s law on Conclaves

The Cardinal Electors violated the papal law on conclaves, in several ways.

First of all, they violated the Law, Universi dominici gregis, as regards the requirement in n. 37, of that law, when they held a Conclave without verifying whether there was a legal sede vacante.

A legal sede vacante means that either the previous pope is dead, and they confirm that with a funeral, or the previous pope resigned according to the norm of Canon 332 §2.

I have it from no less than the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, Mons. Arrieta, whose commentary on the Code of Canon Law I keep at by desk, that there never was any meeting of canon law experts to verify if the Declaratio of Pope Benedict, of Feb. 11, 2013 — commonly called Pope Benedict’s Renunciation — was in conformity with the norm of canon 332 §2.

Second, the Cardinals violated n. 81, of the same papal law, by entering into agreements and promises to vote for Bergoglio, as Cardinal Daneels of Beglium admitted in his Biography composed of interviews he gave. But the College has never acted on the self admission, which in Canon Law tradition is an indisputable act of self imputation of a canonical crime. I have covered this issue in an extensive Chronology of Events, which still remains the most authoritative collection of facts on the matter, on the net.

Thrid, the Cardinals rushed to elect Bergoglio by violating the same Papal Law on the number of ballots permitted on each day: four, as is specified in n. 63, of the same papal law, regarding limit on the number of ballots to be taken on the 2nd day of balloting and all subsequent days.  Because, as has been confirmed by several testimonies in the last 7 years, Bergoglio was elected on the 5th ballot. And this has never been denied.

Fourth, while there has been much controversy over whether the Cardinals could proceed to a fifth ballot in the case of a 4th balloting which contained 1 more vote paper than the number of Electors present, there remains 2 legal questions which have never been addressed about this:

  1. The Cardinals could not lawfully proceed to a 5th Ballot unless they paused the election and held a discussion on the interpretation of the papal law, using the right conceded to them in that same law, in n. 5, for this purpose. If they proceeded to a 5th ballot without such a discussion and vote, then even if they interpreted it as valid, that omission made their interpretation illicit, and hence the entire election invalid.
  2. Whether the Auditors of the Papal Conclave, as specified in n. 70 of the same papal law, held any meeting or discussion in accord with the norm, there specified, regarding the auditing of the final vote. Because in the case that there was no meeting in accord with n. 5 of the same papal law, in regard to whether to proceed to a 5th ballot when only 4 ballots were permitted, then likewise if the Auditors did not meet, the election was canonically invalid. And if they did meet, they had to declare in the case of the lack of a vote in accord with n. 5, that the election was invalid.

Since the multiple reports about a 5th balloting are all silent about what should have happened as regards nn. 1 and 2, here above, it can be rightfully doubted the election was valid. Because a doubtful pope is no pope.

The Cardinals Betrayed the Canons of the Catholic Church

Seven years ago today, the Cardinals consummated their betrayal of the Canons of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope John Paul II, in 1983, in the text known as the Codex iuris canonicis, or the Code of Canon Law.

First, the Cardinals violated canon 40, which required them not to take any decision in regard to Pope Benedict XVI’s Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013, until they had the Latin text in hand in its final corrected version. Since the Vatican Press office in the days following February 11 published at least 3 versions of the text, there is sound canonical evidence that Cardinal Sodano, through Father Lombardi, violated canon 40 in instructing Giovanna Chirri at 11:58 AM, on that morning, to announce to the world that Pope Benedict has announced his resignation from the Pontificate on Feb. 28.  Canon 40 declares invalid any act taken by a subordinate, before he has in hand the integral text of the act of his superior.

Second, the Cardinals violated canon 41, which required them to examine if the legal act contained in the Declaratio was an act specified by the Code of Canon Law and was in all its particulars a command to do something opportune.  But since in the entire Code of Canon Law there is no mention of an act of renunciation of ministerium, the act posited by Pope Benedict XVI was clearly an an actus nullus, and thus canon 41 required them not to act upon it. Also since a renunciation of ministerium does not effect the loss of the papal office, the fact that the Declaratio speaks of calling a Conclave is an inopportune detail or provision. Canon 41 requires that those with mere ministry of execution, in such a case, have recourse to the superior to correct these issues. Once again, according to Mons. Arrieta, nothing of the kind happened.

Third, the Cardinals violated canon 38, which required them not to interpret the Declaratio of Pope Benedict as being in conformity to Canon 332 §2, on the grounds that by naming the ministerium instead of the canonically required munus, the act would gravely injure the rights of the Faithful to know if the pope had validly resigned or not, would cause doubt and risk schism in the Church. For in such a case, Pope Benedict XVI would have had to granted a derogation of canon 332 §2 in his Declaratio, in conformity with canon 38, otherwise the act would have been irritus. He did not, so the act was irritus — a technical canonical term which means having not effect in law, void, on account of having not followed due procedure (ritus).

Fourth, the Cardinals violated canon 36 §1, which requires them to interpret strictly any papal act which violates the norm of any canon, let alone Canon 332 §2. To interpret strictly means that they had to read ministerium as exclusive of any signification of munus, and thus hold that the Declaratio was prima facie incapable of causing Pope Benedict to validly resign the papal munus, the papal office and the papal dignity.

Fifth, the Cardinals violated canons 126 and 188, which require that a juridical act of renunciation of office contain the proper or essential act specified in the law.  As is clear from the Code of Canon Law, which speaks of the Papal Office in canons 331, 332, 332, and 749, the proper term for the papal office is the petrine munus, not the petrine ministerium.  Hence, they were required in accord with canon 188 to judge the renunication irritus on the grounds of substantial error.

Sixth, the Cardinals violated canons 17 and 145 §1, which require respectively that the terms of all canons be understood in their proper sense, that ministerium and munus, when mentioned in any canon be understood thus, and to undertake a study of the entire Code of Canon Law and canonical tradition, in the case of the doubt as to whether ministerium can suppose for munus. They did no such thing in February of 2013, as Mons. Arrieta affirmed to me.

Seventh, the Cardinals violated canon 332 §2, which requires them to recognize a papal renunication only if the Pope renounces his munus, and does so freely and manifests this duly.  But since a good number of the Cardinal Electors were present in the Consistory of Feb. 11, 2013, they heard with their own ears that he made errors in Latin and that he said ministerium not munus, in the crucial core section of the Declaratio. They also heard him say munus twice before that. So they had indisputable canonical evidence that the Pope knew what he was doing, knew how to distinguish munus from ministerium, and did NOT intend to renounce his munus.

The Cardinals violated the Catholic Faith in the Papacy

Seven years ago, today, the College of Cardinals violated the Catholic Faith in the papacy. First, in the strict sense of the Faith, namely, that there can only be one pope. Because, it was clear already by March 3, 2013, that Pope Benedict XVI by his own decision was going to retain the papal dignity by using the title “Pope Emeritus”. There was at least one scholarly refutation of the validity of this published on March 3, 2013 by Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S. J., former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University at Rome. So they could not be ignorant of the fact. The same canonical scholar that week affirmed that a heretical pope loses office immediately. So in choosing an obvious heretic as Pope they also violated the Catholic Faith.

The Cardinals showed their utter contempt for Pope Benedict XVI

Seven years ago, today, the Cardinals consummated their utter contempt for Pope Benedict XVI, in that they responded with glee at his renunciation, and not with consternation and respectful attempt to dissuade him from it.

As reported in the press, in February of 2013, only one Cardinal, Cardinal Pell went on record as saying that the resignation should not happen. He said this before Feb. 28, 2013. He was also the first Cardinal the Vatican allowed to be prosecuted after February of 2013. Hmm.

Respect and reverence for the Holy Father, especially when frail and aged, requires first of all that the Cardinals assist him in executing his will, not obstructing it nor allowing it to be executed in an invalid manner.

Yet it also requires, out of gratitude, that they attempt to convince a good man not to resign. If they omit that, they are basically saying he is not a good man or that they despise him.

And they showed their contempt, not only in sentiment, but by positive canonical ommissions, in seemingly in several ways, because in February of 2013 none of them were under a pontifical secret, yet in 7 years they never have confirmed — to my knowledge — in any interview that they did not do the following:

  1. They did not ask Pope Benedict to explain to them why he made his decision or what it meant, to make sure he was resigning freely.
  2. They did not ask Pope Benedict to correct the 40 errors in the Latin text which he read, before it was published, so as to prevent the shame of such a thing staining the last act of his papacy and the Apostolic See.
  3. They did not investigate or question Archbishop Gänswein and those around the pope as to the circumstance of the act to be certain that he was not manipulated or coerced.
  4. They did not ask one another what they knew about the matter. If so, they would have discovered that Pope Benedict did not seek the counsel of others (according to Archbishop Gänswein) or refused the counsel of his better advisers (according to Archbishop Gänswein and Cardinal Brandmuller). If they had done this, they would have been altered to the necessity to examine the act further.
  5. The consummated their disrespect through all these things and for not treating the Holy Father with that due respect for an aged man, in which one presumes frailty and therefore double checks everything to make sure it is done rightly.

Conclusion

For all these reasons, I think it can be said, objectively, that today marks the 7th anniversary of a day which will live in infamy in the history of the Church until the end of time and for all eternity. The Cardinals gravely failed in their duty as Cardinals and as Electors and as Bishops and Catholics. They failed also deliberately and by omission. Their failure also was canonically imputable, since the Code of Canon Law holds as presumptive, the responsibility of men with such high office to know the law and follow it.

Hence, it is objectively and canonically certain, that Bergoglio is not the pope. Because a man whose claim to the papacy is vitiated by so many canonical doubts, is not the pope, according to the ancient maxim of St. Robert Bellarmine, S. J.: a doubtful pope is not the pope.

_________

CREDITS: The Featured Image is a detail of the photograph by Tenan, which is used here in accord with the Creative Commons Atribution-Share Alike 3.0 unported license explained here.

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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, Abyssum.org, 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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Resigned to the Papacy: Does Benedict still claim he is Pope?

At the request of the author, who was cited incompletely in Edward Pentin’s report, yesterday, FromRome.Info publishes the full essay with its original title

by Dr. Edmund J. Mazza

Ph.D. Medieval History

It’s a safe bet that even if seventy-three-year-old President Trump’s physical stamina suddenly caved, he would still seek re-election rather than allow his Democrat opponent to seize the oval office and reverse all his gains and policies. It is a curious question then why another incumbent Conservative, Pope Benedict XVI, resigned seven years ago citing the frailty of his eighty-five-year-old frame, certain in the knowledge that his successor would be a Leftist ideologue bent on undoing, not only his own legacy, but two thousand years of Catholic tradition. (Benedict may even have been reasonably sure that it would be Jorge Bergoglio, himself, since the Argentinian cardinal came up just shy of the votes needed to unseat Benedict back in 2005.) As George Neumayr writes in the The American Spectator:

In one of his last speeches before abdicating in 2013, Pope Benedict XVI decried the liberalism that had seeped into the Church after Vatican II. To this liberalism, he traced “so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy was trivialized.” But he then proceeded to hand the Church to the very liberals responsible for these problems and to a successor set upon liberalizing the Church even more. (1)

The recent release of Netflix’s The Two Popes, the seventh anniversary of Benedict’s abdication and the firestorm over his co-authorship of a book advocating the retention of the celibate priesthood—a seeming slap in the face of Pope Francis—all conspire in calling for a reexamination of the infamous resignation. Indeed, ever since February 11, 2013 speculations have circulated that Benedict’s renunciation may have been invalid, that he—in some way—still retains the papacy. These allegations were fueled in part by Benedict’s own rather bizarre measures after formally stepping down, such keeping his name “Pope Benedict XVI,” his title “His Holiness,” his white cassock, imparting his “Apostolic Blessing,” and lastly—never departing the Vatican.

These claims even received an unexpected boost thanks to a speech by Benedict’s Personal Secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household. At Rome’s Gregorianum in 2016, Gänswein declared “he has not abandoned this ministry at all. Instead, he has complemented the personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, as a quasi-shared ministry.”  Gänswein adds: “He has not abandoned the office of Peter, a thing which would be completely impossible for him following his irrevocable acceptance of the office…” (2)

Then in 2017, Last Testament: In His Own Words, was published in which journalist Peter Seewald conducted a lengthy interview with Benedict. At one point, Seewald pointedly asks His Holiness: “Is a slowdown in the ability to perform, reason enough to climb down from the chair of Peter?” Benedict replies:

One can of course make that accusation, but it would be a functional misunderstanding. The follower [successor] of Peter is not merely bound to a function; the office [munus] (3) enters into your very being. In this regard, fulfilling a function is not the only criterion. (4) (Emphasis mine)

What “misunderstanding”? A simple “yes,” would do.

But Benedict does not give a “yes” or “no” answer to this straightforward question. All the more bizarre since his answer, in fact, must be a “yes,” or otherwise he is contradicting the very reason he gave for stepping down in his official resignation speech:

I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine office [non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum]… strength…has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry [ministerium] entrusted to me. For this reason…I declare that I renounce the ministry [ministerio] of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter

But in his answer to Seewald, Benedict explains that a physical “slow-down” only affects the “functions” or “ministry” of a pope, his day-to-day tasks like any other official. But being Pope, Benedict insists, is not fundamentally about doing this or that, it’s about being. His answer is an ontological one: “the office [munus] enters into your very being,” not the “function” or “ministry,” but the office.

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.

In October 1977, during the symposium “On the Nature and Commission of the Petrine Ministry” marking the 80th birthday of Pope Paul VI, Ratzinger declared:

In keeping with the three Persons in God, the argument went, the Church must also be led by a college of three, and the members of this triumvirate, acting together, would be the pope. There was no lack of ingenious speculations that (alluding, for instance, to Soloviev’s story about the Antichrist) discovered that in this way a Roman Catholic, an Orthodox, and a Protestant together could form the papal troika. Thus it appeared that the ultimate formula for ecumenism had been found, derived immediately from theology (from the concept of God), that they had discovered a way to square the circle, whereby the papacy, the chief stumbling block for non-Catholic Christianity, would have to become the definitive vehicle for bringing about the unity of all Christians.

2. The interior basis for the primacy: Faith as responsible personal witness

Is this, then—the reconciliation of collegiality and primacy—the answer to the question posed by our subject: the primacy of the pope and the unity of the People of God? Although we need not conclude that such reflections are entirely sterile and useless, it is plain that they are a distortion of trinitarian doctrine and an intolerably oversimplified fusion of Creed and Church polity. What is needed is a more profound approach. It seems to me that it is important, first of all, to reestablish a clearer connection between the theology of communion, which had developed from the idea of collegiality, and a theology of personality, which is no less important in interpreting the biblical facts. Not only does the communal character of the history created by God belong to the structure of the Bible, but also and equally personal responsibility. The ‘‘we’’ does not dissolve the ‘‘I’’ and ‘‘you,’’ but rather it confirms and intensifies them so as to make them almost definitive. This is evident already in the importance that a name has in the Old Testament—for God and for men. One could even say that in the Bible ‘‘name’’ takes the place of what philosophical reflection would eventually designate by the word ‘‘person…

Martyrdom as a response to the Cross of Jesus Christ is nothing other than the ultimate confirmation of this principle of uncompromising particularity, of the named individual who is personally responsible

The Petrine theology of the New Testament is found along this line of reasoning, and therein it has its intrinsically necessary character. The ‘‘we’’ of the Church begins with the name of the one who in particular and as a person first uttered the profession of faith in Christ: ‘‘You are . . . the Son of the living God’’ (Mt 16:16)….

Is Peter as a person the foundation of the Church, or is his profession of faith the foundation of the Church? The answer is: The profession of faith exists only as something for which someone is personally responsible, and hence the profession of faith is connected with the person. Conversely, the foundation is not a person regarded in a metaphysically neutral way, so to speak, but rather the person as the bearer of the profession of faith—one without the other would miss the significance of what is meant…

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

The English Cardinal expresses it in the same way in another passage: ‘‘The office of the papacy is a cross, indeed, the greatest of all crosses. For what can be said to pertain more to the cross and anxiety of the soul than the care and responsibility for all the Churches throughout the world?’’ Moreover, he recalls Moses, who groaned under the burden of the whole Israelite people, could no longer bear it, and yet had to bear it.34 To be bound up with the will of God, with the Word of whom he is the messenger, is the experience of being girt and led against his will of which John 21 speaks. Yet this attachment to the Word and will of God because of the Lord is what makes the sedes a cross and thus proves the Vicar to be a representative. 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, in which the common profession of the Church is depicted as personally ‘‘binding’’ through the one who is bound . . . . This personal liability, which forms the heart of the doctrine of papal primacy, is therefore not opposed to the theology of the Cross or contrary to humilitas christiana but rather follows from it and is the point of its utmost concreteness and, at the same time, the public contradiction of the claim that the power of the world is the only power and also the establishment of the power of obedience in opposition to worldly power. Vicarius Christi is a title most profoundly rooted in the theology of the Cross and thus an interpretation of Matthew 16:16–19 and John 21:15–19 that points to the inner unity of these two passages. No doubt, another facet of the bondage that in light of John 21 can be described as a definitive characteristic of the papacy will be the fact that this being bound up with God’s will, which is expressed in God’s Word, means being bound up with the ‘‘we’’ of the whole Church: collegiality and primacy are interdependent. But they do not merge in such a way that the personal responsibility ultimately disappears into anonymous governing bodies. Precisely in their inseparability, personal responsibility serves unity, which it will doubtless bring about the more effectively, the more true it remains to its roots in the theology of the Cross. (5)

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!”

In 1977, Ratzinger says: ‘‘The office of the papacy is a cross, indeed, the greatest of all crosses. For what can be said to pertain more to the cross and anxiety of the soul than the care and [personal] responsibility for all the Churches…attachment to the Word and will of God because of the Lord is what makes the sedes [chair] a cross and thus proves the Vicar [the Pope] to be a representative [of Christ].” At his last General Audience, Benedict says: “I am not abandoning the cross, but remaining in a new way at the side of the crucified Lord.” Translation: “He remains Pope!”

Dr. Ludwig Ott, famous author of Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, writes: “In deciding the meaning of a text the Church does not pronounce judgment on the subjective intention of the author, but on the objective sense of the text.” But in the objective text of his renunciation, Benedict does not say “I no longer retain the office [munus],” he says instead, “I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry [ministerium] entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry [ministerio] of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter.”

Now weighty matters like papal renunciations are governed by Canon law. And Canon 322 §2 states: “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounces his munus, (6) it is required for validity that the renunciation is made freely and be properly manifested (rite manifestatur, i.e. properly according to the norms of law), but not that it be accepted by anyone at all.” However, Pope Benedict did not follow Canon 322—he did not actually “renounce the munus,” but the ministerium, nor did he “properly manifest,” in the objective sense of his text, his intention to renounce the munus, if such was his intention! (7) Legally, it does not matter if everyone believes Benedict has renounced the office of the papacy (or if only one person does), what matters is whether the act was carried out according to the canonical norm, which it objectively was not. Indeed, in his interview with Seewald, Benedict admits his belief in the ontological impossibility of him leaving the office: “the office [munus] enters into your very being.”

To conclude, can there be any doubt that to Benedict’s mind, he retains the essence of the papacy? Why then does he not speak and act plainly—as THE Pope? Quite frankly, this is a subject for a different article. A case can be made, however, that he has outwitted his ideological opponents in much the same fashion as “Superman” in the conclusion of Mario Puzo’s Superman II [SPOILER ALERT]. By entering the crystal chamber, Superman had seemingly been forced by his enemies to strip himself of his powers, when the reverse was really the case! Perhaps Benedict intentionally resigned the “ministry,” and not the “office” of the papacy so that by appearing to all intents and purposes a defeated man, he might actually strip away the validity of every measure Francis takes which departs from Catholic Orthodoxy, of whom Benedict is the Guardian.(8) Why on earth does Benedict not speak and act as THE Pope? Perhaps in defense of celibacy, he finally has.

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FOOTNOTES

1  In the article, The Prisoner of the Vatican, at https://spectator.org/the-prisoner-of-the-vatican/

2  Address at the Pontifical Gregorian University, cited Diane Montagna’s article at LifeSite News: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/did-benedict-really-resign-gaenswein-burke-and-brandmueller-weigh-in

3  In Canon Law, the papal office is called a munus in Canons 331, 332 §2, 333 and 749. And in Canon 145 §1, ecclesiastical office is referred to as a munus. Cf. Munus and Ministerium: A Textual Study of their usage in the Code of Canon Law of 1983, by Br. Alexis Bugnolo, transcript of paper from the Conference on the Renunciation of Pope Benedict, October 21, 2019, Rome, Italy: at https://fromrome.info/2019/10/31/munus-and-ministerium-a-canonical-study/)

4  Peter Seewald, Benedict XVI, Last Testament: In His Own Words, (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2017).

5  “The Primacy of the Pope and the unity of the People of God,” published as “Der Primat des Papstes und die Einheit des Gottesvolkes” in a book Ratzinger edited, Dienst an der Einheit (Service to Unity); it has also been republished in books by Ignatius Press and in Communio Spring 2014.

6  In the official Latin edition of the Codex Iuris Canonicis, 1983, canon 332 §2 reads here: “muneri suo renuntiet

7  “But there is definite uncertainty about the exact meaning of another phrase of canon 332.2 which asserts that a Pope’s resignation has to be ‘properly manifested.’  …In the end, therefore, it wouldn’t really matter, so long as the Pope’s decision was expressed clearly, i.e., neither ambiguously nor secretly.” https://canonlawmadeeasy.com/2013/01/03/can-a-pope-everresign/

8  Cf. https://fromrome.info/2020/01/12/benedicts-end-game-is-to-save-the-church-from-freemasonry/

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CREDITS:  The text of Dr. Mazza is republished here with his kind permission. The Featured Image is a photo of Pope Benedict XVI reading his Declaratio, on Feb. 11, 2013, in the Sala Clementina. Photo by Vatican Press.

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The Corona Virus & the Next Conclave?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There has been a lot of speculation by Catholics about the next Conclave.

Will Benedict die before Bergoglio, or Bergoglio before Benedict?

If Benedict before Bergoglio, will any Cardinal Elector break with the others and elect a successor to Benedict? — Only 1 is required.

If Bergoglio before Benedict, will the Cardinals proceed to a Conclave, or will the recognize that Benedict was always the pope?

Who would be the next Pope? Someone made a Cardinal by Bergoglio or someone made a Cardinal by Benedict or John Paul II.

But so far, I have not seen any Vaticanista or even blogger approach the question of what role the Corona Virus might play in the next Conclave.

So here goes.

The Corona Virus was reported in one patient at the out-patient clinic at the Vatican yesterday. Today, the entire office of the Secretary of State was sanitized.

Panic is spreading at the Vatican. If they sanitized the Secretary of State offices, then the infection probably has spread to the entire Roman Curia and all of the Vatican, since the Secretary of State is the beehive, as it were, of the entire Vatican apparatus. Numerous officials go in and out on a hourly basis. Numerous officials go from the Secretary of State to all parts of the Vatican. Not to mention the mail, which is processed by the Vatican Post Office in restricted spaces above and below ground.

So we can be certain that the Corona Virus will spread at the Vatican in the next 14 days.

Before the arrival of the Corona Virus at the Vatican it was widely reported that Jorge Mario Bergoglio has the flu. This years flu is very powerful. Those who grew up in the New World, like myself and Bergoglio, won’t have resistance to it.

Thankfully, I already had the flu. I was sick for 10 days, in bed constantly. And for another 10 days, I was so weak I was in bed most of the time. I had a lot of time to think of eternity, and when I was nearly recovered, I decided to start FromRome.Info as a full time apostolate advocating for Pope Benedict.

Those who catch this influence are likely to be harmed particularly severely if they catch the Corona Virus at the same time. Its not polite to speculate about a specific person dying at the Vatican, so I won’t.

But not only Bergoglio but every Cardinal who works in the Roman Curia might fall sick.

Thus, the scenario of a new Conclave this spring is now very likely.

Pope Benedict XVI is under quarantine and I think he will have a better chance of surviving the Corona Virus, since he has lived his whole life in Europe and has much more robust antibody preparation.

The prospect of a new Conclave this spring probably sends chills of terror down the spines of many Cardinals. They would have to come to Italy, and remain in the confined quarters of Santa Marta and the Sistine Chapel for several weeks, making their infection by the Corona Virus highly likely. Others might already have succumbed at the Vatican, changing entirely the political dynamic of the next conclave.

Many probably will decide not to participate.

Others will have a lot of reasons to think of Judgement of God.

Also, who will want to be pope? He will have to live at one of the major epicenters of the Corona Virus?

You can be sure that all those Cardinals who might have weakened immune systems will opt out.

The ones who do have the courage might very well be inclined to act on the kind of proposal which I based my Letter to the Cardinal Dean on, or upon that which my proposal to relect Pope Benedict contained.

Because the consequences of electing another pope, while Benedict XVI lives, is having another antipope. And who wants to risk the Corona Virus to be an antipope or have a dubious claim to the papacy? That would not be a good ending to an ecclesiastical career which aimed for real achievements.

But on account of the epidemic, the College might simply refuse to convene, and leave the Church with Pope Benedict on the one hand, and a sede vacante in the Bergoglio Church on the other. And that would make the crisis in the Church even more confusing.

In any event, God is in control and this corona virus might be the divine intervention that some Bishops and Cardinals — who refuse to look at Canon Law and — prayed for instead, which is sent in reply, but not quite the kind they expected.

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CREDITS:  The Featured Image is a photo of the funeral mass of Pope John Paul II, presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in his capacity as Dean of the College of Cardinals, and attended by the entire College of Cardinals. Source and rights, here.

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